BATTLESPACE talks to Tarik Reyes, Vice President, Northrop Grumman Missile Defense and Protective Systems.
On November 17th, 2017 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the U.S. State Department approved a possible $10.5bn sale of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)-enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ with Modernized Sensors and Components system to Poland. NATO member Poland has sped up efforts to overhaul its military following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and in response to Moscow’s renewed military and political assertiveness in the region.
Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said in March that Poland expected to sign a deal with Raytheon (RTN.N) to buy the Patriot missile defense system by the end of the year.
The system includes Patriot missile defense interceptors designed to engage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and short-range or tactical ballistic missiles using data produced by the IBCS.
The proposed sale includes 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 16 M903 launching stations, four AN/MPQ-65 radars, four control stations, spares, software and associated equipment. The sale is currently structured to include 12 IBCS engagement operations centers and 15 relays, and IBCS software, training and logistics support.
In addition, Poland is authorized to buy U.S. government and contractor technical, engineering and logistics support services as well as range and test programs for a total estimated potential program cost of up to $10.5bn.
A Raytheon representative said, “it is Raytheon’s experience that the estimated cost notified could be larger than the final negotiated contract amount,” signaling that the final price could be lower as negotiations on a final amount proceed. Raytheon added that is “will work closely with the U.S. and Polish governments to ensure Poland is able to procure Patriot at a mutually agreeable price.”
The Pentagon said the sale will take place in two phases.
If a deal is finalized, it would allow Poland to conduct air and missile defense operations with NATO allies the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Greece, which currently have the Patriot system, a U.S. State Department official said.
Poland, which had said it was planning to spend around $7.6bn on the whole project, said the negotiations are not over.
“This does not mean that this amount ($10.5 billion) is the final value of the LOA (Letter of Offer and Acceptance),” the Polish Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding it has a “good track record” in negotiating similar offers.
In addition to Raytheon, the prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) for the missiles and Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) for the IBCS. This deal marks the first overseas sale for IBCS.
Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)
It’s worth looking in detail at the development of IBCS.
In December 2009 Northrop Grumman won a $577 million contract to lead a team of industry partners to create the software, hardware and interfaces to get the systems talking; to make current and future air and missile defense capabilities work together, better protecting warfighters from enemy fire and friendly mistakes.
The Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) is a revolutionary command-and-control (C2) system developed to deliver a single, unambiguous view of the battlespace. This significantly enhanced aircraft and missile tracking improves the ability of combatant commanders and air defenders to make critical decisions within seconds.
Foundational to IAMD transformation and key to the Army IAMD portfolio, the IBCS is managed by the IAMD Project Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
IBCS replaces legacy C2 systems to deliver a single integrated air picture and offer the flexibility to deploy smaller force packages. By networking sensors and interceptors, IBCS provides wider area surveillance and broader protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS enables integration of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.
Announced on December 12th, 2017 the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC)-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS), the foundation of the U.S. Army IAMD, successfully demonstrated extraordinary capabilities for improving joint force operational effectiveness.
Following the first phase of the IBCS Soldier Checkout Event (SCOE) development test in August, the second phase of the SCOE was a live-air exercise over three weeks in October at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. Soldiers from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, used IBCS to direct Army air and missile defense sensors and weapons to conduct complex, multi-domain air defense operations as part of a higher echelon joint task force with the Marine Corps.
“The preliminary analysis indicates all test objectives were accomplished,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “In an operational environment that included electronic attack, we showed the value of IBCS to resolve ambiguity in the air picture and deliver more accurate target tracking data to support joint integrated air and missile defense.”
IBCS pulled together data from air, ground and Marine sensors to form the integrated air picture. By maintaining tracks on objects even when individual sensors could not, IBCS net-centric operations served as valuable counters to electronic attacks. IBCS also demonstrated the ability to correct radar biases and decipher closely spaced objects to significantly enhance the accuracy of the integrated air picture for the benefit of all joint Link-16 message users.
A dozen airborne platforms were identified as “friend or foe” during the live-air SCOE, including unmanned aircraft systems, fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, attack aircraft, tanker aircraft, early warning aircraft, tilt-rotor aircraft and electronic attack aircraft.
The unprecedented capabilities demonstrated in this exercise continue to confirm the effectiveness of a net-centric, enterprise approach to IAMD for getting capabilities to the warfighter that make a pivotal difference on the battlefield.
The Polish Contract
“IBCS is your first export deal, worth over $1 billion to Northrop Grumman, given the sensitivity of the system do you expect ITAR clearances from the U.S.?”
“Given the sale has been approved by the US Congress, and the US government is developing the Wisla Letter of Offer and Acceptance, we believe that ITAR and technology release approvals are on track.”
“What are the benefits of IBCS to Poland?” The Editor asked.
“IBCS is a force differentiator, it creates an integrated air defense system to optimize resources and provide enhanced situational awareness. IBCS will let Poland integrate sensors and shooters as intended, to best address today’s threats and future threats. It builds an improved air picture and enables the ability to select the best effector to use given the type of threat. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use a multimillion dollar missile to shoot down a mini-UAV. IBCS has the flexibility to provide command and control (C2) to defeat multiple threats using multiple defeat systems. To that end, we are working with Polish companies involved in the Narew system and MBDA to develop new interfaces to expand the scope of IBCS for the CAM missile.”
“Does the Polish deal present any challenges to the existing IBCS architecture?”
“Given IBCS is designed as modular and open, we do not anticipate any major technical challenges. Complex design, system integration, and testing typically creates some development challenges, but certainly our experience with integrating Patriot with IBCS gives us confidence in our ability to manage any that could arise.”
“Now you have Poland under your belt, do you expect more international sales?”
“We have considerable interest from customers in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.”