Washington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & Security
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According to a solicitation recently placed on the federal procurement website Sam.gov, the US Army has initiated an endeavor to replace Stinger missiles with a next-generation interceptor for Short-Range Air Defense capabilities as the outdated weapon system approaches obsolescence.

The call for information to industry for a new surface-to-air missile for the Army’s SHORAD system comes at a time when the Pentagon is sending Javelin and Stinger missiles to Ukraine to assist it in fighting the ongoing Russian invasion. Despite the fact that the Army considers that version of the Stinger outdated, senior defense officials are talking with industry how manufacturing may be increased.

A next-generation interceptor for SHORAD has been in the works for quite some time, as outlined in fiscal 2022 budget documents about a year ago. According to the budget records, the service sought $1.5 million in FY22 to publish an RFI and hold an industry day ahead of a competitive shoot-off.

According to the papers, the intention is to award a contract in the second quarter of FY23, with design, development, prototyping, and performance evaluation continuing through the fourth quarter of FY28.

Stinger missiles can be fired from a shoulder-launched system, but in response to an urgent request in theater, the Army quickly deployed a Stryker-based SHORAD system outfitted with Stinger missiles to Europe last year. By the end of 2022, the Army plans to launch a full Stryker-based SHORAD battalion.

The service will also add a 50-kilowatt class laser weapon to the SHORAD system, and it is equipping four prototypes with the capabilities in preparation for a competition to construct more.

The RFI states that “the Stinger-Reprogrammable Microprocessor (RMP) will become outdated in [FY]23, and Stinger Block I is undergoing a service life extension to extend its end of usable life.” “The existing inventory of Stingers is dwindling.”

According to the RFI, the Army intends to start designing and developing the replacement missile in FY23, with manufacturing of 10,000 M-SHORAD “Inc. 3” missiles starting in FY27.

The RFI requests for soldier-portable options, but also specifies that the system must be compatible with the Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher (a component in the Increment 1 Stryker-based SHORAD system already fielded).

According to the RFI, the Army expects the new missile to have “better target acquisition with higher lethality and ranges above present capability.”

According to the RFI, potential applicants should be prepared to undertake a technological demonstration in FY24 that includes “digital simulation, hardware in-the-loop, and/or live-fire demonstration.” According to the request, these systems should be available for an operational demonstration in FY26, which will involve live-fire engagements.

According to an examination of budget records from FY19 and FY20, the Army is reaching the conclusion of its Service Life Extension Program endeavor at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. The technique involves the replacement of “aging essential components” in current Stinger missiles.

The process also includes the addition of a Proximity Fuze (PROX) capability to improve its effectiveness against unmanned aircraft system threats “by eliminating the need for hit-to-kill,” which means that when the missile gets close to a target, the warhead explodes and anything within its burst radius is destroyed.

Older budget records imply that the Stinger SLEP process would be completed in FY23, however the White House has not to disclose specific FY23 budget materials. According to FY20 data, the total number of Stingers that will go through the SLEP procedure is 5,892 systems.

The Army is nearly ready to advise Congress of its first plans to replace both Javelin and Stinger inventories or scale up production if necessary while continuing to supply the weapons to Ukraine, according to Doug Bush, Army acquisition commander.

At least one legislator has stated that the Pentagon should consider whether it makes sense to scale up an outmoded line for Ukraine when the Army is in need of modernization.

“I’d also like to bring out the fact that many of the weapons we’re discussing were designed decades ago.” Is it better to reengage those lines or upgrade? How long will that take in comparison to what we require? “What may we potentially need for Ukraine or other countries?” said House Air and Land Subcommittee Chairman Donald Norcross, D-NJ.



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