The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) have successfully demonstrated a warfighter-focused, net-centric battle command system for integrated air and missile defense (IAMD).
Northrop Grumman will establish a network-centric systems-of-systems solution for integrating sensors, shooters and battle management, command, control, communications and intelligence systems for Army air and missile defense. The newly integrated system will allow warfighters to take advantage of expanded sensor and weapon system combinations via an integrated fire control network.
The Army demonstration, conducted from Oct. 24 to Nov. 8 at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., 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).
Enables mission command decisions:
IBCS was operated by soldiers from the 108th 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.
Execution of detailed test plans:
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.
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