The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Northrop Grumman Corp. conducted a five-day war game in early February intended to give “realistic practice ” to the forces that will operate the U.S. territorial missile shield, according to a company news release.

The exercise also will help with development of a concept of operations for the missile defense system, according to the Feb. 17 news release. Northrop Grumman Mission Systems of Reston, Va., hosted the exercise at its Joint National Integration Center located at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The exercise, dubbed Integrated Missile Defense 4.5, connected operators at the Joint National Integration Center to an Aegis ship in the Pacific Ocean as well as simulated weapons systems at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

The operators used the latest version of software developed by Northrop Grumman for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system under a subcontract to Chicago-based Boeing Co., the prime contractor for the system.

“This provides a great deal of realism for the crews, who can now practice battle operations and certification procedures using the same equipment they will operate during actual alert duties,” said Buz Gibson, Northrop Grumman vice president and program manager at the Joint National Integration Center.

Northrop Grumman conducts at least one war game per month at the Joint National Integration Center. More than 300 Northrop Grumman employees and about 500 subcontractor personnel participate in the exercises .