Northrop Grumman [NOC] has delivered the first production-representative operations center for the Army’s future integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) command system, ahead of a operational test in 2020 and planned fielding in 2022, the company said Wednesday.

The Army is expected to receive a total of 11 Engagement Operation Center (EOC) command posts and 18 Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN) relays for the next-generation IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS) before the end of 2019.

“This milestone is testament of the significant progress toward operational capability that will make pivotal differences to warfighters, commanders and acquisition officials,” Dan Verwiel, vice president for Northrop Grumman’s missile defense and protective systems, said in a statement. “We will be delivering more EOCs as well as IBCS IFCN relays in the near future. These articles will be used for initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), which informs future production decisions.”

Northrop Grumman officials said the first EOC met an Army system verification review, and is intended to represent the capability configuration of the hardware and software that will go through qualification testing before Initial Operational Testing & Evaluation.

IBCS will serve as the Army’s future air and missile defense control system and replace the current engagement control stations on Patriot missile defense systems, while integrating the service’s full range of missile detection sensors rather than running disparate radars for each platform.

Last October, the Army awarded Northrop Grumman $289 million to provide upgrades to the IBCS software and the system moves towards crucial system tests in 2020 (Defense Daily, Oct. 1).