United States Army air defense
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United States Army air defense relies on a range of ground launched missiles ranging from hand held to vehicle mounted systems.
The Air Defense Artillery is the branch that specializes in anti-aircraft weapons (such as surface-to-air missiles). In the US Army, these groups are composed of mainly air defense systems such as the PATRIOT Missile System, Terminal High Altitude Air Defense, and the Avenger Air Defense system which fires the FIM-92 Stinger missile.
The Air Defense Artillery branch descended from the Anti-Aircraft Artillery (part of the Field Artillery) into a separate branch on 20 June 1968.
== History ==
During World War II, US Army anti-aircraft systems were quite competent. Their smaller tactical needs were filled with four M2 .50 caliber machine guns linked together (known as the “Quad Fifty”), which were often mounted on the back of a half-track to form the Half Track, M16 GMC, Anti-Aircraft. Although of even less power than Germany's 20 mm systems, they were at least widely available. They were also used to help suppress ground targets. Their larger 90 mm M2 gun would prove, as did the eighty-eight, to make an excellent anti-tank gun as well, and was widely used late in the war in this role. Also available to the Americans at the start of the war was the 120 mm M1 gun ''stratosphere gun'', which was the most powerful AA gun with an impressive 60,000 ft (~18 km) altitude capability. The 90 mm and 120 mm guns would continue to be used into the 1950s.
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