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Army developing new air defense system

By
Richard Tomkins
The U.S. Army's MML launcher system which is being used for a new air defense system. U.S. Army photo
The U.S. Army's MML launcher system which is being used for a new air defense system. U.S. Army photo

WHILE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., April 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has been conducting a series of tests on the capabilities of a new air defense system in development.

The system is called the Integrated Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept, or IFPC Inc 2-I, which is to protect soldiers from aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, and artillery weapons, including rockets and mortars.

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"If you go back and take a look at what has happened in terms of the threat over the last couple years you'll find that UAS systems and cruise missiles have really become a problem," said Col. Terrence Howard, program manager for Cruise Missile Defense Systems. "So we've got to introduce materiel solutions that can address multiple threats."

The IFPC Inc 2-I system under Army development is to integrate into the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense system, or AIAMD, a networked air defense control system also currently going through testing at White Sands Missile Range in N.M., for a plug-and-fight capability using multiple systems and radars on a network to address whatever threat situation is encountered.

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Several tests of IFPC Inc 2-I were held this month and last to demonstrate the system's ability to launch various missile types and its ability to connect to the AIAMD system and use its Integrated Battle Command System.

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The IBCS is a computer system that allows a small number of soldiers to better manage and control a complex air defense network composed of different radars and missile systems.

"(It's about) integration of a lot of existing capability," said Tamera Adams, chief engineer with the Army's Cruise Missile Defense Systems projects. "It's kind of like if you're trying to put together a new stereo system in your house. You're buying speakers from this vendor, a turntable from another and a DVD player from another. You're trying to put them together to get the best capability for your house."

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The Army's Multi-Mission Launcher, or MML, mounted onto a truck, is a visible feature of the new IFPC Inc 2-I. The launcher carries 15 modular missile launch tubes on a turret system. Tubes of the MML enable allow customization of the missile load.

During the testing of the system, Hellfire Longbow and AIM-9X Sidewinders utilizing the IBCS and sensor data from a Sentinel radar unit have been fired, The MML has also conducted a ballistic test of the Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile for use against rocket, artillery and mortar threats, the Army said.

IFPC Inc 2-I is a joint collaborative effort between the Army's Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space's Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center.

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