We as a nation are focusing the development of our war fighting capabilities to deter and defeat our near peer adversaries of China and Russia. This requires the development of Multi Domain Operations (MDO) to nearly instantaneously fuse and synergize data to provide the decision maker the best information derived from multiple sensors and to apply it instantly with the best offensive and defensive effectors. This concept is enabled by artificial intelligence in order to integrate all capabilities and actions across all domains of warfare: air, land, sea, space and cyber. In order to accomplish this, the complete view of the battlefield must be married to operations across all domains. Multiple projects are underway across all the U.S. military services to get inside the enemy’s decision cycle and kill chain in order to disrupt, negate and defeat the adversary’s ability to attain their objectives efficiently and effectively.
The ability to operate freely in all domains requires control of the airspace which has become increasingly crowded and lethal. The U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines all have a mission to protect the joint force from an ever-increasing array of threats from the air and to degrade enemy A2AD networks in order to maneuver freely, survive and dominate in the sea, air and land domains. As recent history makes clear, no force on Earth can defeat the U.S. Army once it enters a region, assembles and maneuvers to fight. The Army’s Integrated Air & Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) is a current project that is of top priority in order to continue to accomplish this mission. It connects all sensors to all shooters within their domains to allow and enable both defensive and offensive operations to defeat the threat.
With the Department of Defense’s advent of JADC2, the network of networks designed to bring together every sensor to every shooter, the joint force is developing a system to deliver convergence across all domains for the joint force. IBCS is a critical system component and a key to the realization of joint, all-domain convergence. Convergence of all the military’s sensors on land, air, space and in cyber with the Army’s missile defense interceptors and long range precision fire weapons of all ranges is the Army’s contribution to JADC2. The Army’s Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) network will host IBCS as a functional portion inside of TITAN. Convergence of systems is paramount for the ability of not just the Army or not just the Air Force but the Joint Force to be able to execute all-domain warfare in sync. It is a top priority for the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the JCS Chairman that this happen.
Army FIRES Center of Excellence was established in 2009 for the convergence of the Field Artillery with the Air Defense Artillery, which will now be fully realized with IBCS integration through the TITAN network. The Cross Functional Teams for Air and Missile Defense and Long-Range Precision Fires are both housed at the Fires Center in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The U.S. Army has chosen the Air Defense Artillery Branch to develop, test and deploy IBCS due to its real time applicability in combat where it has converged on different sensor data provided from LINK 16 to help bring forth the best firing solution for the organic systems (THAAD & PATRIOT) interceptor by cuing. The Missile Defense Agency in response to a recent JEON from United States Forces Korea (USFK) has demonstrated success integrating two Army Air Defense separate organic systems, the THAAD and Patriot, to operate dispersed across a greater defended area, while achieving an efficiency of interceptors and utilizing engage and launch on remote using forward operated THAAD and it’s AN/TPY-2 radars. This JEON remains challenged by 360 degree layered missile defense sensing networked to offer data from every sensor to every shooter in every layer in the operational area. IBCS answers that call and requirement with the first phase of Sentinel radars integrated with the Patriot missiles systems to achieve 360 cruise missile defense capability. This is now being tested wby ADA soldiers in White Sands, New Mexico with the initial stages of integrating the organic and joint force sensors to the Patriot weapon system for fire control.
Last week the Army also initiated its Limited User Test (LUT) for IBCS, bringing together over 550 soldiers and 200 support personnel from the Department of the Army, DoD, and industry at White Sands Missile Test Range in New Mexico. The LUT will conduct a series operational tests thru September. The LUT is the critical milestone event that must be passed by a new system before it can be moved out of testing and be fully acquired by the Army. With IBCS, the goal is initial operational capacity (IOC) in 2022. IBCS has performed to standard in previous tests over the past year intercepting cruise missiles at White Sands utilizing Sentinel Radars, Marine Corps TPS-59 Radars and LINK 16 control terminals, Air Force F-35As, and PAC-2 GEM and PAC-3 missiles. These achievements in recent testing and significant program adjustments are positive indicators that IBCS will pass the LUT.
The future of ADA is dependent on IBCS succeeding, this will include procurement of the LTAMDS, a 360 degree radar for the Patriot weapon system designed to be IBCS compatible from the ground up, scheduled for IOC in 2022 and the compatibility of the future Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) and Low-Tier Future Interceptor (LTFI) programs with IBCS. To set the conditions to win, integrating the Army’s available sensors to include LEO satellites, THAAD TPY-2 Radars and Grey Eagle UAVS, as well as sensors from across the joint force, with the interceptors launched from Patriot and THAAD and IFPC is the objective of Multi Domain Operations for Air and Missile Defense from the ground.
This integration not only serves the critical air and missile defense mission but will serve the long range precision fires as well, providing total convergence of networked fires. Tests utilizing the F-35 to provide beyond line-of-sight targeting for the Patriot shows that similar techniques can be used to guide offensive fires to place at risk over the horizon enemy missile launch sites from beyond the sensing ability of their own organic fire control sensors. This beyond line-of-sight shooting of the Archers instead of the Arrows will be critically important and requires the successful implementation of numerous new long range precision weapons, such as the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), Longe Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), Mobile Medium Range Missile, and Strategic Long-Range Cannon, in a robust, seamless offense-defense integrated fires system. These weapons are being developed in direct response to serious capability gaps in offensive fires as the Army is currently outmatched in range and out-gunned in capacity by both Russia and China in missiles and cannon artillery. Later this year, the Army will host a Project Convergence exercise to test multiple modernization priority systems together, to include IBCS, TITAN, LEO communication satellites, and new long range precision fire weapons.
It is imperative that IBCS successfully meets all requirements laid out for the LUT. The Army has committed huge investment dollars in IBCS, invested key personnel in Army Future Command and Cross Functional Teams in order to best address and overcome challenges of IBCS. This leadership action makes clear just how absolutely critical it is to have IBCS operational and deployed.
The Russians are testing and fighting with new systems of warfare in Eastern Ukraine, the Chinese are doing the same in exercises in the South China Sea. Now the U.S Joint force is doing the same in Exercises in White Sands New Mexico, and this is what we need to do to compete and win. No more PowerPoints, No More Demos, No More One off Tests, It is time to have the LUT in exercises in the Soldiers hands to force rapid capability development and make IBCS ready to be first to fire!