Northrop Grumman’s and US Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense System Takes Out Cruise Missile
[caption id="attachment_1451" align="aligncenter" width="300"] (Photo: Raytheon)[/caption]
Northrop Grumman and the US Army successfully deployed their future Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (AIAMD) in a test on November 12. The platform effectively took out its first cruise missile target using a new command-and-control system and Patriot and Sentinel radars.
"The technical challenge of integrating sensors and shooters that were never designed to work together – breaking them from existing systems into components for networking – is tremendous,"
said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, integrated air and missile defense division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems.
"With the successful intercept, the Army and Northrop Grumman team continues to show how IBCS is a paradigm-shifting system of systems for air and missile defense.”
Acting as the cruise missile, the Raytheon (formerly Beechcraft) MQM-107 Streaker drone is a high-subsonic subscale aerial target primarily used by the US Army and US Air Force for demonstrative trials. Backed by a Teledyne CAE J402-CA-700 turbojet engine tucked in the nacelle under the fuselage, the MQM-107 Streaker can conduct pre-programmed missions as well as be remotely controlled by an operator.
"The IBCS gives warfighters the advantage of expanded sensor and weapon system combinations and enables a component-based acquisition approach,"
Taking place at 10:26 a.m. MST at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the MQM-107 began the flight test by flying a low-altitude trajectory against a property defended by a US Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) task force. Undetected by the Patriot radar due to its low-altitude course, the drone was however tracked by the Sentinel radar. The intelligence gathered by the Sentinel radar went back to the Integrated Battle Command System which acts as the head of the AIAMD system.
"The success of IBCS allows our ability to acquire needed radars and interceptors to plug into our architecture without having to buy entire systems and to optimize the sensor/shooter relationship to the target,"
said Brig. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the US Army's Missiles and Space Program chief.
The importance of this flight test stems from the fact that it shows that the US Army is moving away from conventional, system-centric weaponry (like Raytheon’s Patriot air-and-missile defense system) to a net-centric, integrable network of current and future air and missile defense systems.