Key Point: The Army refers to the Integrated Battle Command System as a key contribution to the Pentagon’s Multi-Domain Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program intended to create a multi-service warfare network to link any sensor to any shooter across a joint force.
Incoming enemy cruise missiles, rockets, artillery, and hostile aircraft will now be much more likely be detected and intercepted in coming years thanks to the Army’s fast-moving progress with an emerging networked air and missile defense system.
The Army has been developing its Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) for many years and has just awarded an initial Low-Rate Initial Production contract to Northrop Grumman to build the first 160 systems.
IBCS helps network segregated or dispersed radar and sensor nodes into a single network system of meshed and interconnected nodes. This means a Sentinel radar system can, for instance, detect a threat and then share real-time information with a Patriot missile system radar so defensive action could be taken quickly.
Identifying incoming threats by sharing real-time threat information introduces a paradigm-changing ability to strengthen defenses and give commanders a much faster ability to make determinations about which countermeasure, defensive strategy, or counterattack method might best suit the situation.
“IBCS is a keystone Army Futures Command program that will provide a decisive battlefield advantage through weapon and sensor integration and a common mission-command system across all domains, delivering an integrated fires capability to the warfighter while improving battle space awareness, decision timing and protection against threats in complex integrated attack scenarios,” an Army statement said.
The program has been progressing for many years. The Army has referred to it as a key contribution to the Pentagon’s Multi-Domain Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) program intended to create a multi-service warfare network to link any sensor to any shooter across a joint force. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville often says IBCS is the service’s contribution to the Pentagon’s JADC2.
In recent years, the Army expanded the scope of ICBS to include air and maritime nodes. An F-35 Lightning II was used as an aerial node within the network in a test to identify approaching threat details and relay them across a multi-domain combat network. Building upon this, the Army is already conducting testing to expand IBCS to incorporate Aegis radar for Navy ships as well. This will allow ships, fighter jets, ground combat nodes, and radar across otherwise disconnected nodes to enable a joint force to breakthrough into a new era of high-speed, networked warfare.
Full production is slated to begin in 2023.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.