Army Falls Behind Schedule on IBCS Development

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A recent Pentagon testing report indicates that software issues may delay the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS), a key part of the Army’s new Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. The IBCS acts to connect sensors to fire-control systems across multiple systems in order to track and engage threats, allowing the radar of one Patriot firing unit to queue and guide interceptors from another. Originally scheduled to become operational in FY2019, IBCS was meant to replace the command system in the Patriot system and effectively connect all air and missile defense systems on the battlefield. However, the project has been delayed “until IBCS software deficiencies are resolved in accordance with contracted requirements.” DOT&E discovered during their Spring 2016 test of the system that the IBCS software “was neither mature nor stable as evidenced by numerous software reports,” causing an inability for operators to “effectively coordinate with engagement and identification authorities, a key function of air defense.” On February 3, an Army spokesperson reported that it was not “uncommon” to receive “unanticipated results” while testing outside of a controlled environment, although it is uncertain how long the system will be delayed as a result.