WASHINGTON — The Army has successfully conducted a key flight test of its Northrop Grumman-built missile defense command system leading up to a production and deployment decision, according to Northrop.

The service is working toward a fiscal 2018 fielding of the brains of its air and missile defense system, called the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS).

The Army views bringing IBCS online as the most crucial step in developing a modular and adaptable missile defense system in the future. The service wants to get to a point where it can use any sensor or any missile to take out a wide variety of threats. IBCS will connect with any launcher, radar and missile combination seamlessly.

The test conducted April 8 "validated the ability of IBCS to manage multiple threats," according to Northrop.

The test involved joint and Army sensors providing information to the IBCS engagement operations center to create a "single integrated air picture," the company said.

Using tracking data from Patriot and Sentinel radars, the IBCS selected from different missiles to defeat multiple threats coming in at the same time. The system triggered the firing of both a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor to destroy a ballistic missile target and a PAC-2 interceptor to take out a cruise missile target.

"This IBCS test demonstrated the benefit of giving warfighters expanded combinations of radars and weapon systems to achieve any-sensor, best-shooter capability," said Dan Verwiel, Northrop's vice president and general manager of the missile defense and protective systems division.

Part of the Limited User Test system evaluation, the test was the program's last prior to a Milestone C (production and deployment) decision anticipated later this fall.

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