Huntsville AL (SPX) Dec 21, 2010
The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman have completed a series of warfighter-centered design exercises for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).
The exercises are part of the IBCS development plan that incorporates a disciplined focus on the needs and limitations of the soldier in order to improve and shorten decision and execution cycles when using the system.
"While threats evolve and technologies change, the one constant is the warfighter," said Karen Williams, vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems for Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector.
"The IBCS program will not only transform Army air and missile defense for joint and coalition operations, we're partnering with the Army and taking extraordinary means to maximize what is humanly possible given the technology advancements."
IBCS features the warfighter-centered design philosophy and process that gives extensive attention to the needs, wants and limitations of the end user - the warfighter. The design process is based on user involvement, iterative prototyping and user-based assessment. It involves prototyping concepts prior to development and validation testing of the design concepts with actual users.
This ensures that the design satisfies the operational needs of the user and reduces development costs by validating the concepts before the software is built.
The most recent design exercise took place Nov. 16-18 with the Army 11th Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas. The exercise was conducted with 20 soldiers who had a variety of weapon system experience. The IBCS team conducted two previous warfighter-centered design exercises with the 11th ADA Brigade in April and July of this year to test earlier concepts.
The November exercise was the final event of the series scheduled for 2010 and provided significant information for continued efficient software development on the program.
"The usability of a system can be measured," said Ed McAlister, IBCS program director for Northrop Grumman.
"Our interdisciplinary team of software and systems engineers, human factors engineers and graphic artists develop the IBCS system with the human element as an integral part of the system, and these human performance assessments are a crucial part of the process.
"Unprecedented connectivity and value-added information has to be in the right form to enable warfighters to take effective and timely action. Making sure the system capabilities are intuitively usable for the soldier is absolutely critical when split seconds count and lives are at stake," added McAlister.
The IBCS program will provide the Army with its first truly open-architecture and mission-tailorable battle command system for air and missile defense units. The system will utilize an integrated fire control network based on a track management solution that provides vastly improved decision-making aids.
This will enable IBCS to supply warfighters with the data to make time-sensitive tactical decisions under the most demanding conditions and significantly enhance joint integrated air and missile defense operations.
Systems that will be integrated via IBCS include Patriot, Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM), Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS), Improved Sentinel radar, and - if the U.S. Department of Defense directs the inclusion - Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
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