Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 65

AIR DEFENSE article, “Training for the Enemy UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] Threat,” articulates an interesting conclusion: Being able to destroy the enemy’s capability to control unmanned platforms either by jamming the signals to and from a UAS, disabling the cameras onboard, or physically destroying them will be an invaluable asset for ground combat commanders.20 Ironically, Capt. Phillips made this deduction after completing an NTC rotation with a combined arms battalion that was augmented with an Avenger team. According to Field Manual 3-01, U.S. Army Air and Missile Defense Operations, “Avenger is designed to counter low-altitude unmanned aircraft systems, high-speed fixedwing, and rotary-wing aircraft, [and] reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition assets.”21 However, maneuver leaders are not familiar with Avenger capabilities due to fewer formations being available. In 2013, Shirley Dismuke, then editor-in-chief of Fires magazine, wrote, “the Avenger system … will be phased into National Guard units … [even though] it is currently the only system viable against unmanned aerial surveillance.”22 Nonetheless, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wes Dohogn (Brigade Mission Command, JRTC Operations Group) emphasizes the idiosyncratic capabilities of Stinger and Avenger in “Airspace Management with SHORAD [short-range air defense] Integration”: Stingers and Avenger are the Army’s defense against this enemy air threat [referring to UASs]. They have a unique ability that no other ADA asset has. They provide quicker response to the threat and are able to be inserted early on the modern battlefield, providing freedom of maneuver for the BCT while they expand and enlarge the lodgment.23 Since Avengers are not organic to the BCT, maneuver commanders rarely have access to their capabilities before a JRTC or NTC rotation or a combat deployment. Army modernization, expansion, and integration of updated Avenger formations into maneuver forces would resolve this tactical shortcoming and better support maneuver leaders like Capt. Phillips. Dohogn supplements this point by analyzing the benefit of nonstatic-engagement-AMD assets incorporated into the maneuver structure. He offers practical applications learned from JRTC rotation 13-01: The goal is to put ADA fire units strategically between the threat and the defended asset; MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 that simple formula is the best way to increase the probability of engaging an aircraft before it can attack or see a defended asset. This deliberate planning effort can result in Stinger teams conducting Stinger ambushes on known avenues of approach or Avengers moving forward with other mounted elements.24 Modernizing the Avenger for Future Fights The Army modernization strategy, as described in the 2015 Army Posture Statement, states, “While resource constraints will force the Army to delay new system development and investment in the next generation of capabilities, we will execute incremental upgrades to increase capabilities and modernize existing systems.”25 Consistent with this strategy, Boeing offers a low-cost and operationally sound option for modernizing the currently fielded Avenger as a “multimission” weapon that would ensure air defenders and maneuver commanders remain on the cutting edge of aerial threat protection for several generations of conflict to come.26 The innovations to the Avenger multimission rocket launcher reduce fielding time and cost by modifying the existing Avenger with new capabilities: interchangeable Stinger missiles, Longbow Hellfire missiles, guided and unguided rockets, Accelerated Improved Interceptor Initiative (AI3) missiles, high-energy lasers, a 25 mm gun, and other weapons. The updated Avenger can be mounted on the Army’s primary mobility systems, in addition to high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.27 The AI3 provides enhanced protection capabilities to the Avenger because it detects and destroys rockets, mortars, UASs, and cruise missiles in flight.28 On 19 August 2013, the AI3 “successfully intercepted and destroyed a low quadrant elevation 107 mm rocket” during a capabilities flight test.29 The air defense’s response to advancing short-range air defense coverage is the developing static-engagement-AMD program called the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2–Intercept (IFPC Inc 2-I) system. According to a 2012 Program Executive Office Missiles and Space public release brief, the mission of the IFPC Inc 2-I system “is to provide a mobile, robust protection capability to critical assets within fixed and semifixed locations against UASs, CMs [cruise missiles] and RAMs [rockets, artillery, and mortars].”30 This system includes 59