Northrop Grumman [NOC] said Thursday the future missile defense command platform it is developing for the Army will go through its limited user test (LUT) in July, setting up a critical demonstration ahead of a production decision and planned fielding in 2022.

The test of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was set to take place this spring but was delayed due to the pandemic.

A Northrop Grumman produced Engagement Operations Center (EOC) and Interactive Collaborative Environment (ICE) demonstrated in realistic environments at Fort Bliss in preparation for the IBCS Limited User Test. Photo: U.S. Army

“This LUT is another major milestone for IBCS,” Mark Rist, the company’s program director for IBCS, said in a statement. “All the preparation and successful tests have led us to where we are now – clearing the final hurdles before this transformational system goes into production.”

IBCS is the Army’s program to field a new next-generation missile defense control network that integrates the service’s full range of “sensor to shooter” capabilities, and officials have previously said the LUT is intended to prove out the system’s ability to act as a ‘joint kill web’ capability (Defense Daily, March 9). 

The demonstration will take place as a series or air defense scenarios, including observing how IBCS processes and tracks live threats from tactical ballistic missiles, anti-radiation missiles, unmanned aerial systems and helicopters.

“A successful LUT will inform us with the areas of improvement that will drive the initial operational testing and evaluation and then fielding to ensure warfighters have the most capable system,” company officials wrote in a statement. 

In December, the Army completed a successful final developmental test with IBCS taking down two cruise missile surrogates and linking the platform with Patriot and Sentinel radars, Marine Corps sensors and two Air Force F-35s (Defense Daily, Dec. 13).