Northrop Grumman has conducted a flight test of the US Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The test also involved Sentinel and Patriot radars and a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor.

The IBCS flight test was undertaken to test the capability of the system to detect, track and engage threats flying at lower altitude trajectory at an extended range.

During the test, Northrop Grumman and the army intercepted a cruise missile beyond the range limitation of the current Patriot air defence system.

Northrop Grumman Missile Defense and Protective Systems vice-president and general manager Dan Verwiel said: “This is an important event proving IBCS ability to enable next-generation concepts such as ‘engage-on-net’.

“This flight test also shows how IBCS ‘extends the battlespace’ to allow ‘shoot-look-shoot’ opportunities, maximising the probability of destroying the threat, which is critical as threats increase in sophistication.

“The successful test, with IBCS in a near-operational environment, provides confidence IBCS is delivering transformational warfighting capabilities, including all the advantages of intercepting a threat close to its origin.”

As part of the flight test, a drone target was used as a cruise missile surrogate.

The low-flying target was launched towards an asset defended by a US Army IAMD task force.

The defence system in place to tackle the target included battery and battalion IBCS engagement operations centres, a Patriot radar, two Sentinel radars, and two PAC-3 launchers.

Northrop Grumman noted that the target escaped from the Patriot radar’s field of view due to the low altitude trajectory.

The Sentinel radars were used to obtain measurement data to enable the IBCS to provide the engagement solution.

A command was then issued from the engagement operations centre to launch a PAC-3 interceptor missile to destroy the drone target.