Tuesday, April 19, 2016

US Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) successfully tested...preparing for a battlefield without air superiority.

via Alert 5 from Northrop Grumman (vid & description).
On April 8, U.S. Army soldiers executed a successful dual engagement flight test of the Northrop Grumman Corporation-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) to identify, track, engage and defeat ballistic and cruise missile targets. Proving any-sensor, best-shooter capability, the IBCS used tracking data from Sentinel and Patriot radars and provided the C2 for a Patriot
Perfection would be if the Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability plugs into the Army system.  If it does then the Army has accomplished two things...

1.  Guaranteed itself at the table for the "pivot to the Pacific".  No one's crazy.  The USAF was angling for the Air-Sea Battle to include Air Force and Navy tactical air only (at first).  When the scope of the Chinese threat became apparent it began expanding...using B-52's in the maritime role, then talk about arsenal planes, buying more F-15/16s and finally pushing to use F-35s as the quarterback for Aegis Destroyers.  Time has marched on and its become obvious (whether F-35 advocates admit it or not) that the buy of F-35s will be truncated.

2.  IF the buy of the F-35 is truncated and IF the program exhibits the same behavior as it has in the past then its also obvious that it will not deliver.  That means that a plan B needs to be formulated by the ground forces of the US to fight under skies that aren't controlled by our air forces.  Thankfully someone, somewhere in the Big Army is planning for fighting on a battlefield without air superiority.

The only thing that truly pisses me off about this is that the realist in the Dept of Defense suddenly reside in HQ Army instead of HQMC.  A reader made a comment that 70% of the Ground Combat Elements fires are provided by the Wing.  What happens if the Wing is fighting to gain control of the skies?  What happens if Marine Air is "yanked away" and fighting as part of the USAF tasking order?  What happens when deep interdiction becomes a priority over close air support?

The US Army is doing worse case scenario planning now.  I wish the USMC would do the same.

Even more impressive?  We've seen the almost complete revitalization of Army Air Defense.  Plug in the Multi-Mission Launcher into Army maneuver elements along with Patriot Missiles and you have a very capable anti-air system in the making.  Well done.

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