Northrop Grumman intercepts missile at long range during flight test
The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully intercepted a cruise missile at an extended range during today’s flight test using the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) with Sentinel and Patriot radars and a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor. The flight test demonstrated the value of IBCS to detect, track and engage the low-flying threat at a distance well beyond the range limitation of the current Patriot system.
“This is an important event proving IBCS ability to enable next-generation concepts such as ‘engage-on-net,’” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “This flight test also shows how IBCS ‘extends the battlespace’ to allow ‘shoot-look-shoot’ opportunities, maximizing the probability of destroying the threat, which is critical as threats increase in sophistication.
“The successful test – with IBCS in a near-operational environment – provides confidence IBCS is delivering transformational warfighting capabilities, including all the advantages of intercepting a threat close to its origin.”
The flight test was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and began when a drone target, serving as a cruise missile surrogate, flew a low altitude trajectory against an asset defended by an Army IAMD task force. The defense consisted of battery and battalion IBCS engagement operations centers, a Patriot radar and two Sentinel radars, and two PAC-3 launchers connected at the component level to the IBCS integrated fire control network. Because the low altitude flight path of the target obscured it from the Patriot radar’s field of view, the IBCS correctly used measurement data from the Sentinel radars to form a composite track from which IBCS calculated and presented the engagement solution. The engagement operations center operator then commanded, via the IBCS mission control software, the launch of a single PAC-3 interceptor missile to destroy the target.
“The August flight test further demonstrates the critical role IBCS plays in integrating fires and sensors to defeat stressing threats,” said Maj. Gen. Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. “An IBCS-enabled Patriot battalion is currently in new equipment training, and soldiers will spend the coming months learning the system and executing their own simulated battles in collective training, before entering into operational testing and live fire exercises next summer. This week’s successful event validates the interoperability of the system and the maturity of the hardware and software design in support of ongoing soldier training and testing.”