The US Army celebrated its recent 249th birthday not just with cake and speeches but also with a christening—the unveiling of the SGT STOUT, a mobile air defense system named after a legend.

This isn’t just a new weapon; it’s a rolling monument to Sergeant Mitchell W. Stout, the only air defense artillery Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.

Sgt. Stout’s act of ultimate selflessness in Vietnam—smothering a grenade to protect his comrades in 1970—perfectly embodies SGT STOUT’s core mission: safeguarding maneuvering forces on the ever-changing battlefield.

Born out of a need for rapid response, the SGT STOUT began life in 2018 as the Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system.

The name itself reflects its critical function: a shield for ground troops on the move, vulnerable to a modern aerial obstacle course of drones, helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, rockets, artillery, and mortars.

A Technical Juggernaut on a Stryker Base

The SGT STOUT is more than just a name; it’s a muscular beast built on the proven Stryker A1 chassis. This marriage of mobility and firepower creates a highly adaptable platform.

Integrated air and missile defense capabilities seamlessly link with the Army’s existing battle command systems, ensuring a unified defense network on the ground.

But the real muscle comes from the SGT STOUT’s potent armament package.

The initial configuration features a modified M299 launcher capable of firing Longbow Hellfire missiles, offering long-range takedowns of aerial threats.

For closer encounters, a Raytheon Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher packs four surface-to-air missiles, a deadly deterrent against helicopters and drones.

Adding teeth to ground threats is the Northrop Grumman XM914 30mm Bushmaster Chain Gun, capable of chewing through vehicles and light fortifications.

However, the system is designed to be adaptable – soldier feedback is driving improvements, with the M240 7.62mm machine gun potentially being swapped for a more relevant weapon based on real-world experience.

Aiding in target acquisition is the ever-watchful eye of Rada USA’s Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar. This state-of-the-art sensor provides a 360-degree view of the battlefield, giving the SGT STOUT the ability to detect and track incoming threats before they become a danger.

Deployment and the Road Ahead: Protecting the Present, Shaping the Future

Currently, three battalions are equipped with the SGT STOUT, with plans to outfit four in total for the active-duty Army. This initial deployment focuses on bolstering immediate air defense capabilities for maneuver units.

However, the future looks even more expansive.

The National Guard might soon see its ranks bolstered with an additional 312-361 SGT STOUT units, significantly increasing its air defense umbrella.

The SGT STOUT isn’t a static weapon; it’s a constantly evolving shield.

SGT STOUT M-SHORAD
SGT STOUT M-SHORAD displayed at the 249th Army Birthday Festival, June 15, 2024. (Image source: DVIDS)

Upgrades are already on the horizon, ensuring the system stays ahead of the ever-changing battlefield threats. The system is being evaluated for integration of the Next Generation Short Range Interceptor missile system, a successor to the Stinger, providing a significant leap in air defense capability.

Soldier feedback is another crucial factor driving improvements.

Adjustments like control panel tweaks are being implemented based on real-world use, ensuring the SGT STOUT is not just a technological marvel but a user-friendly tool for the soldiers who rely on it most.

Looking further down the road, the SGT STOUT’s capabilities could be extended to other platforms like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) or even robotic systems. This would create a layered air defense network, with the SGT STOUT acting as a powerful mobile hub supported by a web of agile, adaptable platforms.

More Than Metal and Missiles: A Legacy Forged in Valor

The SGT STOUT is more than just a new air defense system; it’s a testament to heroism.

Sgt Mitchell W. Stout
US Army Medal of Honor recipient Sgt Mitchell W. Stout. (Image source: US Army Public Affairs)

It carries the legacy of Sgt. Mitchell W. Stout and his unwavering commitment to his fellow soldiers.

“Naming this game-changing air defense capability after SGT Stout was appropriate and well-deserved, given his heroic efforts to protect fellow soldiers from danger,” said Doug Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. “The M-SHORAD was designed to do the same against a variety of airborne threats.”

It symbolizes the Army’s commitment to continuous innovation, ensuring its soldiers have the best possible tools to defend themselves and complete their missions. As the system continues to develop, one thing remains certain: the SGT STOUT will carry the legacy of Sgt. Mitchell W. Stout far into the future, a shield named after a hero, forever protecting those who defend our freedom.

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