The Army this summer successfully tested new software capabilities of its forward area command and control system integrated with a number of sensors and defeat capabilities against multiple small drone threats simultaneously and in real-time, Northrop Grumman [NOC], the supplier of the integrated C2 system, said on Tuesday.

Northrop Grumman’s new software baseline for its Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) C2 system was integrated with eight sensors and six effectors simultaneously for coordinated air defense against rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) fire and attacks by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) ranging from Group 1 through Group 3 aircraft.

“As the government terms this, it was a coordinated RAM, UAS attack,” Michael O’Hara, short range air defense mission solutions and strategy manager at Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, told Defense Daily in a virtual interview. The ability to simultaneously do Counter-RAM (C-RAM) and Counter-UAS (C-UAS) is a “differentiator” for FAAD versus other C2 system that can only support one mission or the other, he said.

The FAAD C2 system has previously been tested against multiple threats but this time around the numbers were increased and it had to manage all those sensor systems and effectors and match up which effectors would be used against each of multiple incoming threats within a single integrated air picture, O’Hara said.

The new software also showcased the ability to maintain target tracks even if one sensor failed, he said.

“And FAAD seamlessly just picked up the tracks and integrated into the single air picture and engagements happened without any impact due to a loss of a sensor,” O’Hara said.

For the testing in August, which was conducted at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona and sponsored by the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, some of the sensors included SRC Inc.’s Q-50 radar, Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] Q-53 radar, Raytheon Technologies’ [RTX] KuRFS radar, and Anduril Industries’ Sentry sensor tower, O’Hara said. Some of the defeat capabilities included Raytheon’s Coyote and Fortem Technologies‘ DroneHunter counter-drone systems, the Low, Vehicle Integrated Defense System, also called LIDS, the Air Force’s NINJA electronic warfare C-UAS and Raytheon’s ground-based Phalanx close in weapon system, he said.

The Q-53, NINJA system and Sentry Tower were all new capabilities integrated into FAAD C2 for the test, O’Hara said.

FAAD C2 is the Army’s program of record for short range air defense, C-RAM and C-UAS.

“As we demonstrated, our open architecture can quickly integrate new capabilities from across the battlefield,” Christine Harbison, vice president and general manage for combat systems and mission readiness at Northrop Grumman, said in a statement.

The successful tests pave the way for Northrop Grumman to release the new software baseline for FAAD C2, the company said.