Asymmetric Dialogue

Army ADA Faces the Future

By Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake
How busy is US Army Air Defense Artillery? “We have been at war for two decades in the ADA community, operating worldwide, and hardly anyone has noticed,” one general told us a few years ago in the Pacific — and that was before the US deployed the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.
“Whether you’re stateside, whether you’re deployed for overseas, whether you’re in a combat zone, or you’re in a friendly nation, you have to be ready for action. No matter where I am, the question is the same: are we ready to start?” air defense Sergeants First Class Nicholas Martin and Jonathan Pace told us when we visited Fort Sill, home of Army air defense. “Can we heat up the missiles now and fire them? Are we watching the skies correctly? Even if you’re not in a combat area, you’re always watching the sky, because in a scenario where nobody’s fighting, the air defense is still watching.”
“There’s always been that intensity that if something kicks off, we’re the first ones to see it,” the sergeants told us. “We’re the first ones to react. And you’re on the line, they’re coming after you.”
For decades, enemy air defenses were the US military’s first target in a conflict. American air defenders know full well they will probably be the first target for a peer adversary.
For the rest of the story, see Breaking Defense where the story first appeared.
Note with regard to the C-RAM video:
ADA is the transformational part of that technology equation, while offensive ground based strike is the linear technology modernization part of that equation. Working integration, between innovation and modernization may require significant organizational change as well to get the outcomes desired.
During our discussion with the BG McIntire at Fort Sill in April 2018, he highlighted a success story the Army had in the Middle East in developing and deploying the Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM) system within 11 months from the Warfighters call for a solution.
Soldiers and Sailors working together on the C-RAM system quickly developed capability from an existing Navy system, Phalanx – Close-in Weapon System, connected with Army command control systems.
The C-RAM system was designed to defeat the enemy’s incoming rounds launched at our friendly Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Iraq.
According to BG McIntire, they were effectively working integration of defense fires with offense fires within the Army just prior to a ramp off of the control of operations and response efforts from the US Military to the host nation Iraqi government.
“We already started working offensive and defensive fires with the C-RAM system. We linked C-RAM into a network of sensors by leveraging the field artillery sensors and the air defense radars and we were able to determine where the enemy rounds were coming from, the point of origin (POO).
“Then, we were able to effectively provide localized warning for our troops in the vicinity of the Point of Impact (POI), while intercepting the incoming round when it was appropriate to protect the defended asset.
“Simultaneously, we responded with an appropriate level of reaction force: counter-battery fire, Army attack aviation or local ground forces towards the launch point for further investigation or defeat.
“Now, we need to take these Fires concepts already demonstrated at the Tactical level and experiment with them at the Operational and Strategic levels.”
Credit Video: US Army
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