Home Americas US Army buying 8 more laser M-SHORAD Strykers after combat shoot off

US Army buying 8 more laser M-SHORAD Strykers after combat shoot off

Laser-equipped Stryker DE M-SHORAD
The DE M-SHORAD Combat Shoot-Off took place in Fort Sill, Okla. in July 2021. Photo: US Army

The US Army has announced plans to buy an additional eight Directed Energy Mobile Short-Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) vehicle prototypes through fiscal year 2024.

According to an announcement from the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), Kord Technologies, a KBR subsidiary, will deliver four Stryker vehicles equipped with laser weapon systems in FY2023 and another four in FY2024.

RCCTO said the DE M-SHORAD prototypes will incorporate design changes to reduce overall weight and increase maintainability on the system.

The contract value is yet to be either determined or revealed.

The army announcement on the purchases follows the completion of a DE M-SHORAD “combat shoot-off” from earlier this year, which culminated with US Army soldiers executing a series of vignettes demonstrating the capabilities of a laser-equipped Stryker against representative threats in a realistic environment.

DE M-SHORAD is a fully mobile, 50-kilowatt (kW)-class high energy laser (HEL) capable of delivering sustained counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) and counter-rocket, artillery, mortar (C-RAM) firepower to the modern battlefield.

Kord is the prime contractor and lead integrator for the program. The army said in August this year that a platoon of four laser-equipped Strykers remains on track for delivery by FY2022.

The laser weapons that are employed by the system are being supplied by Raytheon after Northrop Grumman dropped out of the competition during the combat shoot-off.

The DE M-SHORAD prototyping effort is part of the Army’s larger modernization strategy for air and missile defense. It promises to offer lethality against unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and rockets, artillery and mortars (RAM) while reducing total system lifecycle cost through reduced logistical demand.

In a separate effort, General Dynamics Land Systems and Epirus have joined forces to integrate a laser weapon system on the US Army’s Stryker vehicle for enhanced mobile short range air defense (SHORAD) capabilities. The Leonidas directed energy weapon and broader high-power microwave technology will aim to introduce a capability to counter drone swarms.