The impetus for bolstering air defense capabilities stems from global tensions.
The U.S. Air Defense Forces intend to augment the number of units equipped with the American Patriot surface-to-air missile system, reports Sarbaz.kz citing the SMD Symposium.
Currently, the U.S. Army consists of 15 battalions, each equipped with 4 Patriot systems. However, this year sees the formation of the 16th battalion, which is not yet fully staffed.
According to the publication, the driving force behind the enhancement of air defense capabilities is the world's strained geopolitical situation and insufficient resources domestically.
"At present, our air defense forces are stationed across 9 countries. Approximately half of the Patriot systems are positioned outside the United States, and we have commenced the rapid deployment of three THAAD systems on the continent. Due to the shortage of air defense systems, we are approaching a critical point where we might not be able to cover the entire country," states Colonel Coward, Commander of the 32nd Air Defense Command.
However, as emphasized by Lieutenant General Carbler, the challenge in establishing another battalion lies in the realm of persistent personnel recruitment issues. Commanders continue to devise incentives to retain current specialists and attract young talent, yet these measures remain insufficient.
"Air defense personnel often sign six-month contracts but end up working for nine months. Many instances of deployment for nine months extend to a year, all due to the personnel shortage," Carbler noted.
The 2023 U.S. National Defense Appropriations Act placed special emphasis on air defense. As a result, Army leaders were authorized to increase the number of active Patriot missile system battalions to 20.