Leonardo DRS and RADA have already collaborated on some projects, such as the Army’s Stryker M-SHORAD program. (RADA)

WASHINGTON — The US Army turned another year older on Friday and is celebrating its 249th birthday today, officially changing the name of its Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) to Sergeant Stout. 

The modified Stryker-based weapon is now named after Sgt. Mitchell William Stout, the only Army air defense artillery man to have earned the Medal of Honor, after dying in Vietnam on March 12, 1970, when his bunker came under mortar fire.

“Stout ran to the grenade, picked it up, held it close to his body, and started to get out of the bunker,” Army Acquisition head Doug Bush told reporters on Thursday. “Upon reaching the door the grenade exploded, and then shielded the blast with his body [to protect] his fellow soldiers from further injury or death.”

This is the second year in a row the service has used the occasion to give a weapon a new name. Last year it announced that its Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) “light tank” was being rebranded the M10 Booker combat vehicle, and Bush teased more name changes are on the horizon.

As for the Sergeant Stout, the service currently has an approved directed requirement for 162 of those systems to support training and fielding for four battalions, and so far, three of those units have received the new air defense weapon, according to Brig. Gen. Frank Lozano, the Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space. However, that number could potentially soar up towards 312 to 361 vehicles, in part, to cover new equipment fielding for four National Guard battalions.

In its base configuration, it outfits Stryker A1 vehicles with a host of capabilities to down aerial threats including unmanned aircraft systems and rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. General Dynamics Land Systems currently serves as the program lead integrating in Leonardo DRS’s mission equipment package that includes Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) turret and Rada USA’s Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar.

The initial RIwP configuration includes a modified M299 launcher for two Longbow Hellfire missiles, a Raytheon Stinger Vehicle Universal Launcher (SVUL) to hold four surface-to-air missiles, Northrop Grumman’s XM914 30 mm Bushmaster Chain Gun, and an M240 7.62 mm machine gun.

However, that weapon package is evolving as more soldiers test it out and threats emerge from the wars inside Ukraine and the Middle East.

“We’re interacting very closely with the current units that are receiving the Sergeant Stout capability, and what that allows us to do is plan for incremental upgrades in the current capability,” the one-star general told reporters.

“Anytime you put anything into the hands of soldiers for the first time, you learn a lot and it can be as simple as a switch that we put on a hand controller, and the soldier saying, you know, the switch would really be better on the touchscreen.”

Part of that upgrade plan includes adding in the FIM-92 Stinger replacement missile — dubbed the Next Generation Short Range Interceptor — that is currently in competition.

Separately, the service is pursuing other M-SHORAD initiatives that will not carry the Sergeant Stout name. Those include a Stryker-mounted 50-kilowatt laser prototype and a recently released request for information for M-SHORAD “increment 4” capabilities that could be potentially integrated onto Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, or robots like the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport.