Christopher Lowman, senior official performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Army, got an up-close look at some of the U.S. Army’s top air and missile defense programs while visiting with Program Executive Office Missiles and Space officials on March 23, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
Despite the seasonal rain and ongoing COVID-19 constraints, the visit was packed with PEO MS updates, a socially-distanced working lunch and weapon system displays and demonstrations.
The tour began at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center, Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration (S3I) Directorate facility in the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) laboratory, featuring an interactive air battle demonstration on computer consoles.
The IBCS is a top Army AMD modernization priority that provides common mission command across all Army AMD echelons, improves combat identification and allows for flexibility in task organization. The system combines current and future AMD sensors and weapons into a common integrated fire-control capability that allows rapid convergence of sensors, shooters and mission command. Once fully fielded, IBCS will provide a game-changing capability, allowing AMD forces to be tailored and scaled appropriately to meet the given threat. The IBCS open architecture enables rapid integration of legacy and developmental sensors and shooters, providing capabilities to defeat emerging threats in multi-domain operations.
Outside the lab, a nearby equipment maintenance facility showcased many other PEO MS systems and products on static display. PEO MS subject matter experts provided Lowman with the latest information about the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Missile Segment Enhancement Missile Round Trainers; Sentinel Radar and Army Long-Range Persistent Surveillance systems; High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and new M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers; Javelin Lightweight Command Launch Unit; and Tube-Launched, Optically Tracked, Wireless-Guided Improved Target Acquisition System.
“Air and missile defense is a primary driver of the Army’s modernization priorities,” said Maj. Gen. Robert A. Rasch, Program Executive Officer Missiles and Space, “and our team was proud to show Mr. Lowman how PEO Missiles and Space develops, fields and sustains new and advanced AMD capabilities that our warfighters, allies and partners need to deter and defeat the threats of today and tomorrow.”
“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to not only share how HIMARS is a mainstay on the battlefield but also show its immense strength, up-close and in-person,” said Capt. Patrick Saxby, HIMARS assistant product manager. “Being a former field artillery officer and an Army Acquisition Corps member allows me to best represent this launcher’s significance to the Soldier and across the military.”
At one point during the tour, Lowman presented a coin bearing his seal of office to Bradley Cooper, assistant product manager of the ALPS systems, in special recognition of his dedicated leadership to the program.
“ALPS provides early warning from air-breathing threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, and fixed and rotary wing aircraft,” said Cooper, who has worked on the ALPS program since 2017. “I’m proud to help deliver a system that meets the Soldiers’ critical needs. We get to go out to the field, put the system in place and see the benefit to the warfighter.”
While at Redstone Arsenal, the Lowman also visited with several other Army organizations. Lowman’s visit marked the first high-profile engagement for PEO MS and S3I since early spring 2020; initiatives such as these ceased to exist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past year, PEO MS continued to accomplish the mission via mostly telework, but the work at S3I required in-person and onsite expertise. S3I overcame facility shutdowns and delays in schedule due in part to the close partnership with PEO MS. The collaborative teams worked hand-in-hand to ensure and enable faster delivery of solutions to the warfighter.
“Providing Mr. Lowman a hands-on, Soldier-focused perspective of our PEO MS weapon systems at S3I demonstrated our team-of-teams partnership approach to collaborate across the Army and with other military services, academia and the defense industry,” said Rasch. “Giving him the opportunity to climb up in the master gunner’s seat of an MLRS rocket launcher or get behind the lens and focus the crosshairs on a Javelin missile’s target brings keen awareness and enhanced understanding of our mission.”