The Ukraine fiasco has forced the U.S. to begin rebuilding its military

The rearmament will take about five years

The Pentagon has analyzed the failures of the Ukrainian army and decided to urgently strengthen its Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) units, which had been neglected before. This is described by the famous American military analyst Tyler Rogoway in his article "A Striking Gap in America's Short Range Air Defense and How to Close It Quickly" on The War Zone portal. 

America's short-range air defense (SHORAD) has been "withering at the roots" over the past few years, the publication says, because "America's air superiority didn't seem to require much in the way of ground forces capable of defending against air attacks. Two wars in favorable air environments - Afghanistan and Iraq - also did not help SHORAD's cause, nor did the current decade's budget cuts. But the tactical realities of the modern battlefield have changed, and it turns out that the U.S. Army and Marines, for that matter, do need SHORAD capabilities, and they need them badly."

 In 2004, the U.S. had 26 SHORAD battalions. Now there are only nine left. Seven are in the National Guard. Each battalion is armed with an Avenger SAM system mounted on a cross-country vehicle. The complex was developed in the 1980s by the American firm Boeing Aerospace Company. It is designed to engage air targets on counter courses and in pursuit at altitudes of 0.5 - 3.8 km and ranges of 0.5 - 5.5 km. It is equipped with two transport and launch containers of 4 FIM-92 Stinger missiles, 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun and radar. 

Meanwhile, the Avenger SAMs have long been obsolete. FIM-92 missiles, despite all the modernizations, are no longer distinguished by high technical and combat characteristics. They do not fully correspond to the current tasks on the battlefield. Defeat of modern airplanes, helicopters and UAVs is not guaranteed, and the potential enemy has the ability to attack the SAM from outside its kill zone.

Tyler Rogoway recognizes this: "America's potential enemies are building arguably the best SHORAD systems in the world.

Russia, in particular, took the SHORAD mission much more seriously than the United States, namely because it did not have the luxury of almost guaranteed air dominance - or at least it never believed in the idea at all. Today, several Russian-made mobile point defense systems are in production. These include the Tunguska, the Tor, and the particularly formidable Pantsir-S1. China has units such as the LD-2000 30mm self-propelled anti-aircraft launcher, and the latest versions of this type are also equipped with missiles. The Chinese HQ-7 is a clone of the French Crotale point defense SAM. Other international systems, such as the British Rapira and the French Roland, have also successfully cooperated with various armed forces around the world."

 During the failed counteroffensive, the AFU had a variety of mobile short-range air defense systems: a small number of Soviet Strela-10 SAMs (range up to five thousand meters) and Tunguska missile and cannon systems (up to eight kilometers), as well as Avenger SAMs (20 units) and German Gepard (52 units).

They proved ineffective against low-flying Russian Ka-52 and Mi-289N helicopters operating at range, noted Tyler Rogoway: "Ukrainian armored vehicles seem to have a problem with Russian attack helicopters. The presence of Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters on the frontlines underscores the need for highly mobile and survivable short-range air defense assets."

The harsh lessons of the military conflict in Ukraine have forced the Pentagon to begin reforming its military, which is currently incapable of fighting an equal opponent.

At the end of February 2024, the U.S. Department of Defense published a document titled "Transforming the Structure of the Armed Forces". "From counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, the Army will refocus on large-scale combat operations against technologically advanced military powers," the preamble reads.

The Pentagon wants to create five "multi-domain task forces" (MDTF) with missile units armed with, among other things, Highmars and hypersonic weapons, with cyber warfare battalions.

BMD and air defense will be dramatically strengthened. Each MDTF will be assigned an "indirect fire defense" battalion with "short and medium range" assets against drones, artillery, mortar systems, and cruise missiles.

Other branches of the military, including special operations forces, will be cut back.

According to The War Zone, SHORAD battalions will be armed with the recently introduced Enduring Shield air defense systems with AIM-9X Sidewinder surface-to-air missiles.

These battalions will also include nine "small UAV countermeasures batteries" with Coyote Block 3 counter-drone interceptors. During tests in 2021, this system reportedly destroyed a swarm of ten drones by "non-kinetic means," i.e., REB means.

There are also plans to form four additional short-range maneuverable air defense (M-SHORAD) battalions to neutralize "low-altitude threats - UAVs, helicopters and aircraft." Two such units are already in place. "The main air defense system assigned to the existing M-SHORAD battalions is a Stryker 8x8 armored vehicle-based mobile platform with a turret armed with short-range, heat-seeking Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Each also has a 30mm automatic cannon capable of firing non-contact fuzed munitions that are ideal for shooting down drones. These units should also get Stryker-based vehicles with a high-energy laser, and possibly a high-powered microwave emitter," writes The War Zone columnist Joseph Trevithick. 

Note that anti-drone laser and microwave weapons are still in development, and it is not certain that their use will be effective enough. 

Tyler Rogoway laments that the Pentagon paid attention too late to the need to create short-range air defense systems capable of countering huge swarms of cheap and small drones. As Rogoway's article suggests, the U.S. military doesn't even have an idea of what such an air defense system should look like.

In his opinion, "while it may sound like a page from a science fiction novel, the only thing that could probably counter such a dense attack on ground troops or garrison forces would be to have their own counter-roids at the ready. This would lead to dozens or even hundreds of mini-kamikaze aerial battles in the sky - a suicidal fight not for life but for death among tiny flying robots with collective intelligence." 

The U.S. Air Force is currently working on a program to produce about a thousand unmanned fighter jets equipped with artificial intelligence, The Wall Street Journal reported

The budget for the program is estimated at $6 billion. Hundreds of such drones could enter service with the U.S. Air Force as early as the next five years. Anduril Industries, Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are bidding for the contract with the U.S. defense agency.

The unmanned fighters are planned to escort and protect crewed aircraft, such as F-35 fighters and B-21 bombers. They will also be able to carry their own weapons, strike other aircraft and targets on the ground, and perform reconnaissance missions.

In the summer of 2023, the next Emerging Technologies for Defense conference, organized by the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA), was held in Washington, DC. The report by Kathleen Hicks, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, The Urgency to Innovate, was of the greatest interest.

She spoke for the first time about the Pentagon's promising program called Replicator, which provides for the creation and development of unmanned and crewless drones of different classes. The plan is to create a variety of aircraft, surface and underwater vessels, and ground platforms to perform all major tasks - from surveillance and reconnaissance to the use of conventional weapons.

Within 18-24 months, the Pentagon plans to develop and test several thousand unmanned systems of different classes. What exactly complexes, existing or under development, will be included in this number, Kathleen Hicks did not say. 

Drones of all classes for the Replicator concept should be simple and inexpensive. Due to the simplicity of the drones, it is planned to ensure their mass production. Large-scale production and mass introduction of drones should level the numerical advantage of the probable enemy in equipment and manpower.

But these ambitious plans are still only in draft form. Therefore, the published concept of the "Transformation of the Armed Forces Structure" can be characterized by the well-known rule from elementary school: the sum does not change from the rearrangement of summands.

In five years, this arithmetic maxim will cease to work, of course, provided that all Pentagon developments are successful and enter the military. 

Russia and China have five years, not to think, but to prepare a worthy military-technical response to America.

Strategic Culture Foundation

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Follow us on TruthSocial, X-Twitter, Gettr, Gab, VK, Anonup, Facebook and Telegram for interesting and mysterious bonus content!
If you are willing and able 👉 PayPal donate.
Free mail

نموذج الاتصال