Northrop Grumman’s [NOC] Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) demonstrated an ability to scale up across long distances during a successful five-week long U.S. Army test, the company said on Wednesday.
The multi-node distributed test occurred with Army air and missile defense assets spread across over 20 nodes from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Fort Bliss, Texas, and Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The company did not disclose exactly when the test occurred.
IBCS is the company’s open-architecture battle-command processor that allows the Army to plug in both legacy and new sensors and interceptors depending on the missions and threats. The system is also meant to network with the Army’s legacy systems to create a unified multi-layer air defense capability.
IBCS is designed to replace and consolidate seven legacy command and control (C2) systems into one common system with a single view of the air defense network.
Northrop Grumman said this recent test, called the Soldier Checkout Event (SCOE) 4.0 multi-node test, demonstrated how IBCS can scale more broadly.
The test “demonstrated IBCS’ robust network management technologies to efficiently and effectively maintain voice, data and video connectivity for the warfighter’s increasingly complex and challenging environment,” Dan Verwiel, Northrop Grumman vice president and general manager for missile defense and protective systems, said in a statement.
Verwiel added test demonstrated the ability of IBCS to integrate systems into one air picture “using an operationally realistic equipment laydown across several states and showed how IBCS is truly a force multiplier.”
Northrop Grumman said SCOE 4.0 also pushed IBCS’ scalability, performance, and resilience under “stressing threat conditions.”
The test included nine IBCS engagement operations centers,12 IBCS integrate fire control network relays, Sentinel short range air defense radars, longer range Patriot radars, and Patriot Advance Capability Two (PAC-2), PAC-3, and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors.
IBCS fed the radar information into the various interceptors, even though they were originally designed to only work with missile launchers in the same battery.
Previously, last August the Army conducts an initial SCOE development test, then last October a second phase included a love-air exercise over three weeks at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., and by last December the Army tested IBCS with soldiers at Fort Sill, Okla. using the IBCS to direct sensors and interceptors to conduct multi-domain air defense operations within a higher-echelon joint task force with the Marine Corps (Defense Daily, Dec. 12, 2017).
The company said in the SCOE 4.0 test, IBCS had to virtually form an IAMD task force, defending four critical assets while tracking friendly and hostile fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles.
This included several two-hour scenarios to check IBCS abilities like proving and managing a network to maintain voce, data, and video connectivity; performing friend-or-foe identification for all air objects and making an integrated air picture; and planning, executing, and monitoring simulated threat engagements.
The test then dynamically added and removed nodes to confirm IBCS can self-configure as an ad-hoc mobile network.
“Extensive testing has shown IBCS to be increasingly mature and its capabilities will be game-changers on the battlefield. IBCS delivers an unprecedented degree of integration to fill gaps in today’s air defenses while enabling multi-domain concepts such as affordably integrating unmanned or fifth generation fighter aircraft,” Verwiel said in a statement.
Recently, Poland agreed to buy Raytheon’s [RTN] Patriot air and missile defense system, Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] PAC-3 MSE interceptors, and Northrop Grumman’s IBCS as part of the first phase in a medium-range IAMD procurement program (Defense Daily, March 28).