U.S. Army Receives Enduring Shield AD Systems
The U.S. Army’s most recent low-altitude air defence system, Enduring Shield, will be mainly used against cruise missiles and UAVs. The system consists of launcher units holding up to 18 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles with a provision for other types of interceptors.
Enduring Shield can connect to the Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command System or work with assigned radars independently.
The U.S. Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 program had Raytheon-Rafael consortium with the C-RAM-focused Iron Dome air defence system and Leidos. The latter hadn’t disclosed its participation in the program till 2023 summer.
Enduring Shield of the company is based on the Army’s Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) system capable of firing FIM-92 Stinger, AGM-114 Hellfire, AIM-9X Sidewinder and Tamir missiles. While MML had a high capacity, its modularity came at a cost. In addition to the costs, the launcher had overheating issues with AIM-9X missiles. Enduring Shield aims to address the cost and simplicity issues of the design to provide the Army with a more affordable system.
The high capacity of Enduring Shield makes it suitable for defending against mass attacks with cruise missiles and long-range kamikaze UAVs, which have gained considerable popularity during the war in Ukraine and are often employed by Russia. However, it should be noted that the highly manoeuvrable AIM-9X isn’t exactly a cheap missile; thus, new solutions may emerge for more cost-effective engagements.