General Dynamics Land Systems [GD] will publicly showcase a version of its Tracked Robot X-Ton, or TRX, robotic vehicle outfitted with a short-range air defense (SHORAD) payload for the first time next week.

The company will bring the TRX SHORAD to the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, with officials telling

Defense Daily the platform is aimed at exploring the Army’s interest in utilizing uncrewed platforms for counter-drone requirements.

TRX SHORAD. Photo: General Dynamics Land System

“[The SHORAD payload] is a natural progression from what we’ve been doing,” Ray Moldovan, GD Land Systems’ business development manager for robotics, said in an interview ahead of next week’s conference. “As we increased the complexity and brought more capability to our customer, the next logical step is to find areas where there’s opportunity. And so with this air defense and counter-UAS mission, looking at Stryker SHORAD as a fielded capability, it’s about continued development and solving of the complex challenges that brings value to our customer.”

Kendall Linson, GD Land Systems’ business development for Stryker, said more details could be coming soon from the Joint Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) or the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) on plans for assessing how to bring in uncrewed platforms for counter-drone operations. 

“It’ s more or less something you can bring to the tactical edge of the battlefield so that they can protect those formations,” Linson told Defense Daily. “You’ll probably hear in the coming weeks or months out of probably the JCO’s office or the RCCTO’s office and they’re going to address what they’re going to do with bringing robotics to help formations defeat UAS threats.” 

GD Land Systems has previously detailed an interest in offering TRX for the Army’s potential pursuit of a medium-variant Robotic Combat Vehicle and has participated in several demonstrations and experiments with the platform over the last couple of years (Defense Daily, Oct. 15 2021). 

Scott Taylor, GD Land Systems’ director of U.S. business development, noted the SHORAD package is the fifth payload the company has demonstrated on TRX in four years, which follows showcasing resupply, fires, loitering munitions and breacher payloads.

“The TRX offers an innovative solution for some of the Army’s force structure challenges and, more importantly, addresses many of the dirty, dull and dangerous missions with an innovative multi-payload-capable suite of robotic combat vehicles,” Taylor told Defense Daily.

The SHORAD payload on TRX includes Moog’s Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform (RIwP) turret, two pods of Raytheon Technologies’ [RTX[ Stinger missiles and 30mm cannon.

The GD Land Systems officials cited the ability to leverage experience from the company’s ongoing work with the Army’s M-SHORAD program, which looks to field a new platform on Stryker vehicles capable of taking down unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing and fixed-wing threats, as well as cruise missiles.

Moldovan specifically cited the potential for cost savings and reduced soldier demand associated with employing an uncrewed system for SHORAD missions.

“The concept here is we have a two soldier-operated system versus a three soldier-operated system for a Stryker SHORAD. And that’s where we see a value proposition in TRX SHORAD,” Moldovan said. 

Leonardo DRS supplies the mission equipment package for M-SHORAD, with GD Land Systems integrating the capability on select Strykers. 

“The Army has been very public in recent years about their challenges with force structure, trying to equip the Army in ways to bring back air defense artillery battalions…and they’re struggling with the manpower requirements they have. And so we thought the TRX has applicability to solve some of those force structure challenges they have,” Taylor said.