Northrop Grumman's Integrated Air and Missile Defence Battle Command System (IBCS), developed in partnership with the US Army, has received authorization to proceed with low rate initial production (LRIP) following a successful Milestone C decision for the program.
This milestone, approved by the US Department of Defense, represents a critical next step in moving the program closer to future deployment.
"The milestone C decision confirms that IBCS is ready to field and will meet critical US Army needs for network enabled, integrated command and control for its air and missile defence forces," Chris Deeble, head of Northrop Grumman Australia, said. "IBCS enables “any sensor/best effector” multi domain operations, something that the ADF has been focused on for some time.
"IBCS is a pathfinder toward the US’s vision of a ‘Joint Force’ based on Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). The architecture and systems capabilities being developed as part of IBCS are likely to be interest to the ADF as they progress with key multi-domain programs such as Air 6500.
"Like IBCS, Air 6500 will require exquisite systems integration including: software and hardware design and development; and extensive planning and execution of critical development and operational tests. Like IBCS, Air 6500 will require the integration of multiple air and ground systems. The lessons learnt by the US Army and Northrop Grumman with IBCS could greatly assist the ADF as they plan for Air 6500.”
“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 Program 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 worked in partnership with the US Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office in the system engineering, design, development and testing of IBCS hardware and software. Since 2015, the program has executed seven successful flight tests conducted under complex and operationally realistic conditions.
Most recently, IBCS underwent a Limited User Test that included testing of an operational Air and Missile Defense Battalion Task Force and featured two operational flight tests, which culminated 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 (HWIL), environmental, live fire, and developmental testing and has participated in numerous Joint and US Army exercises. According to Northrop Grumman, 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 program to inform the Milestone C decision.
“We are proud to have contributed to this landmark achievement that will help our warfighters better address and defeat evolving threats,” said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “This milestone is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over many years to deliver a truly revolutionary system.”