US Army soldiers test Northrop Grumman’s integrated battle command system

Northrop Grumman-developed integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) battle command system (IBCS) has successfully completed a key developmental test at Tobin Wells in Fort Bliss, US.

The IBCS is managed by the IAMD Project Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space and replaces stove-piped legacy command-and-control (C2) systems.

IBCS integrates sensors and interceptors to provide wider area surveillance and broader protection areas.

Conducted by the US Army soldiers, the three-week Soldier Checkout Event (SCOE) test saw IBCS being used as the common C2 across battalion and battery-level operations.

The US soldiers also used Sentinel and Patriot radars and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-2, PAC-3 and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptors to fight 26 simulated air battles against hundreds of tactical ballistic missile threats.

US Army Missiles and Space programme executive officer Barry Pike said: “This SCOE is an enterprise-level integration and test of IBCS and Army IAMD assets and capabilities with soldier operators.

“The event allows air defence warfighters the unprecedented opportunity to provide relevant system performance and interface feedback when the system is integrated with actual tactical hardware and software.”

"This SCOE is an enterprise-level integration and test of IBCS and Army IAMD assets and capabilities with soldier operators."

The SCOE also tested IBCS’s ease of use and involved a 72-hour endurance run of the system, including 18 additional air battles.

Northrop Grumman missile defence and protective systems vice president and general manager Dan Verwiel said: “Our flight tests in 2015 and 2016 proved the system could do what was previously thought to be undoable - that IBCS could provide the C2 for sensors and weapon systems never intended to work with each other.

“The lessons learned from last year’s Limited User Test (LUT) have resulted in a substantially improved system. By all indications, IBCS performed exceedingly well; software deficiencies identified during the past LUT have been resolved.”

The second phase of the SCOE will be conducted this month at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, US.

Image: US Army air defenders fight simulated air battles inside an integrated air and missile defence battle command system (IBCS) engagement operations centre. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.