Army Seeks To Field One-Size-Fits-All Battle Command System

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  Space News Business

Army Seeks To Field One-Size-Fits-All Battle Command System

By TURNER BRINTON
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 06 March 2009
06:38 am ET






troops fighting in campaigns since the Persian Gulf War have maintained battlefield superiority by using the most advanced set of sensors and shooters in the world. The past two decades have seen the deployment of new air and missile defense systems to counter ever- evolving threats, but this has created a burden for troops who must use a different command and control system for each.

The U.S. Army is seeking to streamline its numerous, proprietary command and control systems by 2014 with its Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) program. The IBCS will be a so-called system-of-systems that pulls together various Army missile systems, sensors and battle management command and control elements to simplify operations for soldiers in the field. Funding for the IBCS program is anticipated to total around $1.4 billion from 2010 to 2015, Army spokesman Dan O’Boyle said.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems of Tewksbury, Mass., and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems of Reston, Va., were each awarded 11-month, $15 million contracts in September to develop competing IBCS system designs for the Army. Both completed milestones in January in which they presented the software and hardware architecture that will be the basis of their designs.

The next major milestone the companies are working toward are preliminary design reviews scheduled for May that will serve as each company’s closing argument for why the Army should go with their proposed solution. Following the design reviews, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official will clear the Army to issue a prime contract to one of the teams, O’Boyle said. The contract award is expected in August.

Northrop Grumman’s IBCS team includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, antenna specialist Harris Corp., research and development consultancy Schafer Corp., and several other firms. Raytheon is teamed with General Dynamics C4 Systems and IBM, among several others.

Robert Jassey, Northrop Grumman’s director of air and missile defense/BMC4I, said one of the main drivers behind the IBCS program is the need to reinsert humans back into back into weapon systems.

“This has been one of the lessons learned over the last couple wars and deployments,” Jassey said in an interview. “Warfighters cannot use all the sensors and weapons that have been built. We’ve been so enamored with technology that we’ve engineered humans out of our systems.

“The lesson learned in net- centric operations is they need to focus on getting knowledge to the warfighter. They don’t need more data, they need more knowledge.”

Regardless of which team the Army picks, IBCS will encompass deployed air- and missile- defense capabilities that all feature substantial Raytheon contributions, either as prime contractor or major subsystem provider.

Dave Mosher, Raytheon’s IBCS program manager, said Raytheon’s lead role on many of the Army’s defensive weapons systems should give his team an edge in the IBCS competition.

“We’ve built up an institutional knowledge of Army air defense, and I would say it’s a substantial advantage for us,” Mosher said in an interview.

IBCS will incorporate Raytheon’s Patriot and Surface- Launched Advanced Medium- Range Air-to-Air Missile systems and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system for which Raytheon provides the radar and command and control system. IBCS, regardless of who builds it, will pull in data from Raytheon- built Sentinel radars. The new battle command system’s so- called “plug-and-fight” design is also intended to accommodate some future weapons systems, including a radar-equipped tethered aerostat called the Joint Land-Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) that Raytheon is developing.

“We’ve built up an institutional knowledge of Army air defense, and I would say it’s a substantial advantage for us,”

Mosher said. “A number of new capabilities are being brought to bear. Done the wrong way, you could add a lot of cost onto the programs of record. But given our knowledge of the systems in the programs of record, we view it as a big competitive advantage for Raytheon.”

Northrop Grumman, for its part, has a history of battle management command and control systems, having provided the systems engineering and integration of these systems for the Army’s Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar program and having built the Pentagon’s Air and Missile Defense Workstations that have been used in U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Northrop Grumman is now working to develop, build and test a mobile missile system for destroying rockets, artillery and mortars under the Army’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability Integrated Demonstration program. The company also provides the fire control system for the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

“Software development is Northrop Grumman’s sweet spot,” Jassey said. “We’re pretty passionate about how we will do this, and we know how to be an integrator.”