Northrop Grumman and the US Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space (PEO MS) have installed a key Patriot missile and Sentinel radar capabilities into the latter's integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) battle command system (IBCS).
Jointly carried out with Raytheon, the Sentinel Project Office and Lockheed Martin on orders of the IAMD Project Office, the Patriot advanced capability-2 (PAC-2) and PAC-3 capability integration enables an IBCS engagement operations centre to launch and control the Patriot family of interceptors in a net-centric approach.
The addition of Sentinel radar to the IBCS integrated fire control network validates the system's common open architecture-based approach to integrating sensors.
Northrop Grumman Information Systems air and missile defense systems vice-president, Kelley Zelickson, said the IBCS open architecture enables plugging of disparate missiles and sensors into the army's integrated fire control network.
"In addition to affordable integration and expanded capability, IBCS provides the army with alternatives to buying or upgrading unique command and control systems when it desires to incorporate new missile or sensor components," Zelickson said.
Manufactured under a $577m contract received in January 2010, ICBS is a network-centric systems-of-systems solution supporting integration of sensors, weapons, and battle management command, control, communications and intelligence systems to help soldier make informed decisions in the battlefield.
The programme stemmed from an analysis of operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, which emphasised enhancements in mission command to help reduce fratricide incidents and also implement an enterprise approach to command and control systems.
Besides Lockheed, Northrop's IBCS industry partners include Boeing, Harris, Schafer, nLogic, Numerica, Colsa, EpiQ, Space and Mission Defense Technologies, CohesionForce, Millennium Engineering and Integration Company, RhinoCorps and Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Northrop is now scheduled to participate with IBCS in an army IAMD demonstration at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama during fourth quarter of 2013, which represents a snapshot of IBCS capabilities in the development process and will also display integrated Sentinel and Patriot battle command operations.
The IBCS development and operational testing including the evaluation of the system's capability to direct the firing of army IAMD weapons at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, is expected to commence in 2014.
Image: The addition of PAC-2 and PAC-3 capability enables IBCS engagement operations centre to launch and control the Patriot family of interceptors. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. James D. Mossman.