WASHINGTON — The US Army's fFuture Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (AIAMD) successfully took out its first cruise-missile target on Nov. 12 in a test that included a new command-and-control system and Patriot and Sentinel radars, according to the service.
The test took place at 10:26 a.m. MST at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to an Army statement. While the cruise missile surrogate — an MQM 107 drone — went undetected by the Patriot radar due to its low-altitude trajectory, the Sentinel tracked the target and relayed the data to the Integrated Battle Command System — the brains of the AIAMD.
IBCS then relayed information through a remote iIntegrated Ffire Ccontrol Nnetwork (IFCN) to engage the threat with a Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile that hit the target.
The test is significant because it shows that the Army is making headway in terms of moving to move away from traditional, system-centric weapon systems — like Raytheon's Patriot air-and-missile defense system — to a net-centric, "plug and fight" integration of existing and future air and missile defense systems.
The Northrop Grumman-made IBCS, which all of the Army's missile defense sensors and shooters will plug into, is expected to reach initial operational capability in fiscal year 2019.
In May, the IBCS successfully destroyed a ballistic missile in its first flight test. IBCS was connected to a Patriot radar and two adapted Patriot launchers through the IFCN during the test.
"The success of IBCS allows our ability to acquire needed radars and interceptors to plug into our architecture without having to buy entire systems and to optimize the sensor/shooter relationship to the target," said Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the US Army's Missiles and Space Program chief, Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, said following the first test.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.