The Army has awarded Northrop Grumman [NOC] a $289 million deal to continue work on the company’s next-generation missile defense command platform, including critical operations center and software upgrades, with the goal of reaching a potential low-rate initial production decision in 2020, officials said Monday.

Northrop is tasked with upgrading its Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System’s (IBCS) engagement operations centers and integrated fire control network relays, while also developing a new version of the system’s software to integrate the latest Patriot missile defense system updates.

A visualization of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)
A visualization of Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)

“From integrating weapons developed decades ago with capabilities still in development, to rapidly adding protection against emerging threats and enabling seamless multi-domain operations, through logistics, training and lifecycle support, IBCS is solving some of the most difficult defense challenges confronting our nation and allies today. We are honored to continue working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Army to get next-generation IAMD to the warfighter,” Dan Verwiel, Northrop’s vice president of missile defense and protective systems, said in a statement.

Northrop Grumman’s IBCS has been selected as the Army’s future missile defense command system intended to replace the engagement control stations on Patriot missile defense systems, and integrate targeting data from a range of missile detection sensors.

Northrop said the latest contract modification covers the production of a new mobile command and control shelter design, as well as a modernized Integrated Fire Control Network relay trailer design.

“As a part of these upgrades, we’re taking advantage of all the changes in processors and communications that have occurred since the first Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation units were delivered,” Bill Lamb, director of integrated air and missile defense for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, told Defense Daily.

The latest Army contract modification also calls on Northrop to develop and deliver IBCS software version 4.5 that allows the system to integrate the latest Patriot missile defense upgrades.

“From a software development perspective, the contract includes development of the next build of IBCS software from that successfully tested during Soldier Checkout Events (SCOE) conducted over the past year,” Lamb said. “This contract modification enables IBCS to continue to keep pace with evolving and emerging threats. The program is constantly working to ensure system capabilities can provide critical protection against an evolving air and missile threat.”

In September, the Army announced it completed a successful IBCS target engagement exercise earlier in the spring (Defense Daily, September 12).

Under the latest deal, Northrop is expected to provide logistics for future IBCS flight tests planned for late 2019.