Northrop’s battle command system for Poland primes production pump

    WORLD  01 April 2023 - 09:00

    At an Alabama-based Northrop Grumman facility, now primed to build a US Army battle command system, three fire-control relays painted green sit side by side.

    But these relays that connect the Integrated Battle Command System to sensors and shooters in the field aren’t for the American service. Instead, they are going from Madison to nearby Redstone Arsenal for a final review before shipment to the Polish military, Defense News reports.

    The three relays seen March 27 marked the last of the equipment that makes up the IBCS technology Poland will receive as part of its first order of Patriot air defense systems it bought years ago.

    “That hardware will ship in-country next month. Actually, the Poles will complete their training, and we’ll reach base operational capability, essentially being online at the end of the summer,” Northrop Grumman’s director of network solutions, Ian Reynolds, told reporters at the production line on Monday.

    With Russia carrying out an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Poland is clambering to buy high-end defense capabilities. It reached an agreement with the US in 2018 to buy Raytheon Technologies-made Patriot systems bolstered by an advanced battle command system that the US Army was still developing.

    Poland received a waiver to acquire IBCS because it wanted the capability before it would be fielded to US soldiers. Typically, American-made weapon systems are fielded to US forces before they’re sold internationally.

    Poland’s request was risky because the IBCS program, at the time, was struggling in tests, and the program’s schedule had slipped by roughly four years.

    The command system was originally developed as the brains of a future air and missile defense system for the Army. It was to tie together with a new 360-degree radar and potentially new launchers, replacing the aging Patriot weapon.

    But the Army expanded the role for IBCS, deciding the system would also connect other sensors and shooters on the battlefield like the still-in-development Indirect Fire Protection Capability designed to defend against rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles and drones. The mission expansion further delayed IBCS fielding plans.

    Poland will become the first operational user of IBCS, not the US Army. But the US will benefit from the Eastern European country using the system, Reynolds said.

    “As we were proposing [low-rate initial production] in a competition, we were able to show that: ‘Hey, we, Northrop Grumman, have a live, hot production line. We have a team already supporting the software development, the hardware development.’ " he said. “So that really benefited the US Army — just stepping into that already established line.”


    The company also took lessons learned from building systems for Poland’s Wisla program — the effort to procure a Patriot capability — and applied it to the US Army’s low-rate production program, according to Michael Hahn, Northrop’s IBCS program director.

    The US Army awarded Northrop a $1.4 billion contract for both low-rate initial production and full-rate production of its future battle command system in December 2022.

    Poland’s first order, which includes two Patriot Configuration 3+ batteries, came with a $4.75 billion price tag.

    As part of the deal, Northrop delivered two firing batteries of IBCS, which consists of six engagement operations centers, six integrated collaborative environment tents and associated equipment, and 12 integrated fire control network relays.

    Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced in May 2022 that the country would launch the second phase of its midrange air defense program by requesting the US government sell it six more Patriot batteries with related gear, including IBCS.

    Proliferating prospects

    The US Army passed through the initial operational test and evaluation last fall, and a full-rate production decision is expected April 10, as well as the delivery of the first two batteries of IBCS to Poland. Other European-based NATO allies are watching Poland and the US program of record evolve, Reynolds said.

    Northrop also submitted IBCS for an Australian competition for a joint air battle management system, Reynolds said, and both Japan and the U.K. are seeking international solutions for an air defense battle command capability. He expects Australia will choose a winner this summer.

    And Hahn anticipates Japan will soon issue a letter of request for the capability, while the UK has already posted a draft request for proposal to industry.

    Poland also wants IBCS for its Narew short-range air defense program, and the country is working on issuing a letter of offer and acceptance with the US government before the end of the year as well as a letter for the second phase of the Wisla program. Poland is buying MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile for the Narew program.

    “With current world events, a lot of our allies and partners are increasing their defense spending investment,” Reynolds said. “While air and missile defense has always been important, it hasn’t always risen above the budget cut line, but we are seeing that it is now that they are backing up their intentions around integrated air and missile defense.”

    Northrop is touting the IBCS system as an open, modular system beneficial to foreign customers. “There’s real recognition that in a fight, they’re going to want truly integrated operations with the US Army,” Reynolds explained.

    The company is busy preparing its IBCS production line for new and existing customers within the 60,000-square-foot manufacturing space, and it has 500 employees across the program. It takes roughly 18 months to build an IBCS, according to Hahn.

    While the system struggled earlier in the program, the company says the technology has had 15 out of 15 successful flight tests, meaning they resulted in target intercepts.

    IBCS was also chosen as the command-and-control capability for a new air and missile defense architecture in Guam, where it will connect to a variety of sensors and shooters. Northrop is working with the Missile Defense Agency to tie IBCS into other homeland defense capabilities.


    Subscribe to our Telegram channel

Read also

Austria to finance demining in Ukraine

28 May 2023 - 09:56

NATO, Western powers call for de-escalation in Kosovo

27 May 2023 - 17:59

China deletes 1.4 million social media posts in crackdown on "self-media" accounts

27 May 2023 - 17:46

Iran's president calls on OPEC members to calm the market

27 May 2023 - 17:33

US Treasury warns country will run out of money June 5

27 May 2023 - 16:32

Türkiye builds homes for quake victims with Down syndrome

28 May 2023 - 09:00
Latest news

    Diesel locomotive derails in Georgia killing Azerbaijani railman

    28 May 2023 - 10:03

    Austria to finance demining in Ukraine

    28 May 2023 - 09:56

    Türkiye elects president

    28 May 2023 - 09:49

    Erdogan expresses confidence in his victory in Turkish presidential election

    28 May 2023 - 09:42

    Azerbaijani president, first lady make posts on Independence Day


    28 May 2023 - 09:35

    Azerbaijan detains Armenian saboteurs in custody

    28 May 2023 - 09:28

    Turkish president: Shusha Declaration to be biggest guarantee for peace, stability

    28 May 2023 - 09:21

    Azerbaijan launches investigation into mine blast injuring civilian in Tartar

    28 May 2023 - 09:14

    President Macron: Azerbaijan, France establish strong relations

    28 May 2023 - 09:07

    Türkiye builds homes for quake victims with Down syndrome

    28 May 2023 - 09:00

    Azerbaijan celebrates Independence Day

    28 May 2023 - 08:54

    New sanctions against Russia stuck in limbo over Greek-Hungarian protest

    28 May 2023 - 08:01

    Scientists find way to make energy from air using nearly any material

    28 May 2023 - 07:04

    Yellen’s debt limit warnings went unheeded, leaving her to face fallout

    Analysis by The New York Times

    28 May 2023 - 06:00

    Russians snitch on Russians who oppose war with Soviet-style denunciations

    Analysis by The Washington Post

    28 May 2023 - 05:01

    Germany slips into recession, everyone should be worried

    28 May 2023 - 04:01

    NATO struggles in the shadows to find new leader

    28 May 2023 - 03:00

    South Korea, China agree to strengthen talks on chip industry: Commerce ministry

    28 May 2023 - 02:04

    Facing off with West on Ukraine, Russia reshapes world order in Africa

    28 May 2023 - 01:02

    FA: Nuclear collision course in South Asia

    28 May 2023 - 00:00

    Brazil’s Amazon region to host UN climate summit in 2025

    27 May 2023 - 23:01

    Will Iran's new nuclear bunker increase risk of Israeli attack?

    27 May 2023 - 22:00

    Political visionary or warmonger?

    Henry Kissinger turns 100

    27 May 2023 - 21:01

    High stakes of NATO’s Vilnius Summit

    27 May 2023 - 20:00

    Türkiye's HAVELSAN showcases naval solutions at CNE 2023

    27 May 2023 - 19:02

    Mine blast in Azerbaijan's Tartar injures employee of construction company

    27 May 2023 - 18:11

    NATO, Western powers call for de-escalation in Kosovo

    27 May 2023 - 17:59

    China deletes 1.4 million social media posts in crackdown on "self-media" accounts

    27 May 2023 - 17:46

    Iran's president calls on OPEC members to calm the market

    27 May 2023 - 17:33

    Azerbaijani president lays foundation stone for Kalbajar District’s Yanshaq village


    27 May 2023 - 17:20

    Russia names goal of gas hub in Türkiye

    27 May 2023 - 17:07

    Second Int'l Conference on "Mine Action - the Path to Reaching SDGs" adopts declaration

    27 May 2023 - 16:55

    Russian MFA: Position on use of nuclear weapons unchanged

    27 May 2023 - 16:45

    US Treasury warns country will run out of money June 5

    27 May 2023 - 16:32

    Israel unveils new self-propelled gun capable of hitting multiple targets


    27 May 2023 - 16:19

    Ukrainian military starts training in Germany on operation and maintenance of Abrams tanks

    27 May 2023 - 16:06

    Members of Iranian drug trafficking network detained in Baku


    27 May 2023 - 15:53

    Russia vows tit-for-tat retaliation for Japan sanctions

    27 May 2023 - 15:40

    Türkiye's first home-made electric train enters service

    27 May 2023 - 15:28

    Taiwan reports Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through strait

    27 May 2023 - 15:15

    Armenian side fails in attempt to pass off saboteurs as lost soldiers

    27 May 2023 - 15:02

    French police use tear gas to disperse protest against TotalEnergies

    27 May 2023 - 14:54

    German parliament authorizes troops to stay in Mali for one final year

    27 May 2023 - 14:42

    President Ilham Aliyev visits Kalbajar district

    27 May 2023 - 14:34

    US, China hold more trade talks despite continuing tensions

    27 May 2023 - 14:29

All news