Initial Operational Test & Evaluation Next Fall
Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command System (IBCS) programme, developed in partnership with the US Army, can now proceed with low-rate initial production (LRIP), following a successful Milestone C decision. This marks a critical next step in moving the programme closer to future deployment.
“The decision by our senior leaders to transition IBCS from development into initial production reflects their confidence in the maturity of the system and its readiness for operational testing to inform Initial Operational Capability,” said Maj Gen Rob Rasch, Army Programme Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “The soldiers of the 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion performed tremendously in training and testing over the last year, and are poised to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of IBCS next fall during the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation.”
To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman and the Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office collaborated in the system engineering, design, development and testing of IBCS hardware and software. Since 2015, the programme has executed seven successful flight tests, conducted under complex and operationally realistic conditions, demonstrating new game-changing capabilities that the system will deliver upon fielding.
Most recently, IBCS underwent a Limited User Test that included testing of an operational Air and Missile Defence Battalion Task Force, and featured two operational flight tests, culminating in successful intercepts of complex, threat-representative cruise and ballistic missile targets. Over its development life cycle, IBCS has undergone extensive hardware-in-the-loop environmental, live fire, and developmental testing and has participated in numerous joint and US Army exercises. These tests and exercises, along with soldier touch-points, have provided excellent feedback and data to drive significant performance improvements throughout the development phase of the IBCS programme to inform the Milestone C decision.
IBCS is the centerpiece of the US Army’s modernisation strategy for air and missile defence, to address the ever-changing nature of warfare. Designed to connect the force and enable unified action across all domains against evolving threats, IBCS is a software-defined, network-enabled C2 system that integrates and optimizes ‘any-sensor, best-effector’ toward enabling Joint Multi-domain Operations and C2.
Built on a modular, open systems network, IBCS employs a net-centric integrated fire control network that enables the acquisition, identification and engagement of air and missile threats. It enhances battlefield survivability by creating a resilient, self-healing network that can reduce and eliminate vectors of attack, while providing commanders and operators with a single integrated air picture of unprecedented breadth, range and accuracy.