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Launch of a Black Dagger target missile in Gallup, N.M., as part of the U.S. Army's Integrated Air Missile Defense system and Army Futures Command, August 20, 2020. (Source: U.S. Army)

In the hot sands of White Sands, New Mexico, the Army’s 3-43 ADA let it all out to LUT (limited users test) it all out. Fundamentally proving the capability of  the heavily invested IBCS by the United States Army to move forward to IOTE (initial operation testing evaluation) that would lead to deployment in the third quarter of 2022. This achievement is a monumental milestone for Missile Defense, for the United States Army, and for the safety and defense of the United States’ bases abroad and land forces around the world. A concept that began in 2009 as a requirement that has had tremendous challenges that were overcome to synergize the best available sensor to the best available shooter for the best available firing solution. A new capability that will bring exponential efficiency thereby expanding current capabilities tenfold. IBCS is key and essential to an MD architecture that will include comprehensive and technologically sophisticated Offensive and Defensive capabilities for broader National Security imperatives. Most significantly, it will be a FIRES critical integrator for convergence and will seamlessly join into the future JADC2.

“There isn’t a moment to lose. We’re on a path for 2023 that…maintains the idea of combined arms overmatch for us and that’s what we’re after. We’re never going to have more cannon systems or more rockets or missiles but what we do better than any army in the world is fight as a combined arms team..” BG John Rafferty, at Heritage Foundation Virtual Event, August 24, 2020.

In two separate complex, live-fire exercises over two weeks at White Sands by the Army war fighters of 3-43 ADA that will field and operate the system in combat demonstrated successfully the unique capability IBCS has in a combat environment.  IBCS demonstrated its “self healing network” to overcome electronic jamming and beat the challenges of tracking and intercepting over the horizon and over a mountain range, neutralizing multiple cruise and ballistic missiles that were detected, tracked and successfully intercepted. IBCS stood up throughout the operational length of simulated combat and used its capability to overcome combat conditions of misfires to put the best interceptor on the best sensor fire control data for multiple intercepts. Two separate organic with sensor systems -Sentinel and Patriot- were used to enable and expand coverage areas where one sensor could not. IBCS’s first test was over the horizon and over a mountain range cruise missile threats picked up first by forward Sentinel radar where a Patriot Radar could not track. IBCS worked off Patriot and Sentinel radars to complete the track despite an Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN) relay being jammed to simulate an electronic warfare attack, firing the best Patriot interceptor available to intercept within its organic capability. IBCS also demonstrated the ability to successfully track and negate a complex ballistic missile and cruise missile simultaneous attack with the best sensor and best interceptors for each threat that is reflective of what U.S. bases are facing today in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. 

“The key thing today is we did it in the dirt, and we did it live against live targets. This is a major, major milestone, not only for the air defense community but for the Army as a whole.” General John Murray, White Sands Missile Test Range, August 14, 2020

In depth data analysis of all that took place in the past two weeks will be accumulated, studied for performance adjustments and collectively brought to bear to the Honorable Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord for her approval of IOTE on November 20th. ICBS with Sentinel and Patriot will be deployable in late 2022 to begin fielding to 15 ADA Patriot Battalions that look to be restructured to best take advantage of this new capability that can disaggregate the battalions to provide a more extended and greater comprehensive defending area within the capabilities of these systems. The next step is to rig the current 1,400 PAC 3 interceptors with a small software package to enable them through IBCS to intercept off of other sensors than its organic Patriot Radar thus providing a 360 degree missile defense interceptor capability rapidly that is in the inventory already acquired. In 2023 the new LTAMDS radar, the first radar purpose built for IBCS and replacement of the Patriot Radar is scheduled to reach IOC making the defended area even more capable to track and defeat incoming threat missiles.

The Army has committed significant time and significant resources to mature and advance the IBCS. Time, however is relative, as our adversaries are committed to defeating our MD capabilities and the broader MD architecture within which we will field those capabilities. It is a national security imperative to acquire IBCS quickly and the other associated MD capabilities at affordable rates, and most significantly at the “Speed of Relevance”.​

Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.