The US Army has said it is on track to field its Directed Energy-Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) system, which will be equipped onto Stryker infantry carrier vehicles.

The service recently conducted a test of a new DE M-SHORAD capability. With this, the service plans to deploy a platoon of four laser-equipped Stryker combat vehicle prototypes by FY22.

During testing, DE M-SHORAD capability was evaluated on board a Stryker in a combat shoot-off at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

According to US Army hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition deputy director Marcia Holmes, DE M-SHORAD is a 50kW-class laser that is designed to safeguard divisions and brigade combat teams against uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs), rotary and fixed-wing threats.

Holmes said: “Our goal is to deliver prototypes that soldiers can use as the mission requires and that the army can leverage as a baseline for a programme of record.

“A soldier-cantered design is a key part to reduce risk and to ensure an operationally effective weapon system.”

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DE M-SHORAD’s design used Stryker’s gas-powered engine to power its batteries, cooling system, and laser.

Programme manager colonel Scott McLeod said the US Army plans to showcase the DE M-SHORAD capabilities during Project Convergence 21, where it would participate in a joint coalition exercise later this year.

‘Project Convergence 21’ is the military’s strategy aimed at modernising and transforming its operations, including future hoist requirements.

McLeod added: “We are delivering a brand-new capability, it is not a modification or an upgrade. It is unlike any other system the army has fielded to date.

“This event was a major step in the prototyping process and an informative waypoint as we move forward with building and delivering a prototype platoon in [fiscal year 2022].”

In July 2019, the US Army said it is working on rebuilding a SHORAD capability to defend manoeuvre units against aircraft, uncrewed aerial vehicles (drones) and cruise missiles.