The U.S. Army is reportedly preparing for the deployment of mobile short-range AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense missile systems in Syria and Iraq to defend its bases from the increasing airborne threats.
In late February a series of photos purportedly showing Avengers being transported on a highway from Iraq to Syria emerged on social media and were reported on local media. The systems were potentially being transported to assist U.S. troops in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor region.
AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense missile systems use FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers to protect military bases and infantry against low-flying aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and helicopters.
Until early last year, U.S. bases in Iraq had no air defense systems capabilities deployed, which made them vulnerable to missile attacks.
When Iran attacked two U.S. bases in the region with ballistic missiles in January 2020, in a retaliatory strike for the U.S. assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike, Washington decided to deploy high-altitude MIM-104 Patriot missiles to these bases alongside short-range C-RAM (Counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar) systems.
The Avenger defense system could provide ground forces in that area with some much-needed protection against airborne threats as well as bolster air defenses, which are primarily designed for countering ballistic missiles and small rockets, in Iraq.