A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor missile successfully intercepted a cruise missile target at an extended range during a flight test on Aug. 29.
The flight test used the Army’s Northrop Grumman-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) with Sentinel and Patriot radars. It 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.
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.”
IBCS is a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address an evolving array of threats. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy as well as broader surveillance and protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and effectors and enables interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.
IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.