Combatant commanders and air and missile defenders have long wanted to have the same, unambiguous view of the battlespace in order to make critical decisions within seconds. On March 18-19, DoD officials saw how that objective is being achieved through a capability demonstration of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) at the Pentagon.
Northrop Grumman Corp. is developing IBCS under the direction of Army IAMD Project Office, the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.
The demonstration highlighted how IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture easily understood by commanders and air defense operators to greatly enhance aircraft and missile tracking and decision making in the very complex air domain. The update also showed how IBCS can enable commanders to tailor organizations, sensors and weapons to meet the demands of diverse missions, environments and rules of engagement in a manner not achievable today.
“Today’s air defenders are forced to deal with uncertain information, short timelines and high consequences for wrong decisions,” said Kevin Campbell, vice president and executive lead of the missile defense integration group at Northrop Grumman. “It’s crucial we provide the system that allows commanders to optimize limited resources, plan flexible defense designs and be involved in engagement decisions.
“This system gives commanders the single integrated air picture that lets them see farther, understand faster and engage earlier with higher confidence,” said Campbell.
“It is not an overstatement to describe IBCS as transformational to how we will enhance and execute air defense operations,” said Brig. Gen. Neil Thurgood, program executive officer, Missiles and Space.
IBCS establishes the foundation for commander-centric, network-enabled operations. By networking sensors and interceptors — as opposed to simply linking them — IBCS provides wider area surveillance and broader protection areas.
IBCS replaces seven legacy command-and-control (C2) systems with a net-centric C2 to reduce single points of failure and offer the flexibility for deployment of smaller force packages. It creates a standard simplified approach via one battle command system common across the forces that eliminates the logistics tail of multiple systems and fundamentally changes the training paradigm.
“What we aim to deliver is an ‘every sensor, best shooter’ capability,” said Campbell. “The highly interoperable IBCS establishes the means for connecting complementary and coalition systems for joint and cooperative multinational missile defense.”
With its truly open systems architecture and a common, government-owned interface, IBCS enables integration of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system, said a Northrop Grumman press release issued on March 24. The modular architecture also allows the ability to modernize sensors and weapon systems without major rework.
The IBCS program resulted from analysis of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom operations to improve mission command as a top priority. Significant IBCS program milestones include planned flight tests late this year at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.