The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corp. have successfully demonstrated a warfighter-focused, net-centric battle command system for integrated air and missile defense (IAMD).
The Army demonstration, conducted from Oct. 24 to Nov. 8 at Redstone Arsenal, AL, employed Northrop Grumman's IAMD Battle Command System (IBCS) software and hardware components to highlight critical capabilities tied to objectives established by warfighters. Key objectives include demonstrating the IBCS tactical air defense planner and the IBCS graphical user interface (GUI).
"With IBCS, Northrop Grumman aims to deliver a common battle command system for all Army air defense components to help save lives and reduce system lifecycle costs," said Linnie Haynesworth, vice president and general manager of federal and defense technologies division for Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "The successful demonstration is important progress and we're pleased our open architecture, any sensor-any shooter IBCS operated as planned and performed flawlessly."
The IBCS tactical air defense planner is intended to replace the seven disparate, currently fielded planning tools air defenders use to determine how to optimize sensors and weapon systems to best protect assets. The IBCS GUI, known as the common warfighter machine interface, takes advantage of gaming industry advancements to intuitively enable mission command decisions.
"The soldiers I spoke with clearly want IBCS today," said Brig. Gen. Neil Thurgood, program executive officer, Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. "This very successful demonstration marks a significant event in the history of not only the IBCS program, but also the future path and war fighting doctrine of our Army."
IBCS was operated by soldiers from the 108 th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the First Armored Division to participate in the IAMD demonstration.
"Soldiers were able to get their hands on the system for the first time," said Col. Robert A. Rasch, Jr., project manager, Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense Project Office. "Operational warfighters were able to see the force multiplier of using common command and control for an integrated air and missile defense capability."
The Army IAMD demonstration included two tactical integrated fire control network relays and three dismounted relays that let IBCS interface with remote weapons and sensors. The demonstration also used three tactical air defense engagement operations centers housing the IBCS computers and radios and necessary environmental control and power components.
In addition to showcasing capabilities, the IAMD demonstration served as the mechanism to execute detailed test plans, procedures, processes and data collection plans for upcoming developmental and operational testing. Furthermore, Northrop Grumman and the Army collected significant feedback for the iterative prototyping and user assessment cycles of the IBCS warfighter-centered development process.
Development testing of the IBCS engagement operations centers, tactical integrated fire control network relays with net-enabled air and missile defense sensors and weapons to conduct engagements against multiple threats is scheduled for late 2014 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The program is scheduled to go into low rate initial production in 2016 with fielding to begin in 2017.
The IBCS program resulted from analysis of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom operations to improve mission command as a top priority. By implementing an open, network-centric, system-of-systems solution, IBCS optimizes battle management command and control and significantly improves cost effectiveness and flexibility. IBCS uses an enterprise, plug-and-fight approach to ensure that current and future sensors and weapon systems can be easily incorporated, allowing warfighters to take advantage of integrated Army and joint capabilities. The IBCS program also focuses on warfighter decision processes and tools to ensure intuitive situational understanding for time-critical engagements.