MBDA has developed a new ground-based air defence (GBAD) command and control (C2) system called Network-Centric Engagement Solutions (NCES), which the firm revealed at the 2017 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
The system, which has been developed in response to an unspecified customer's particular requirements, provides a flexible network of sensors, effectors, and fire control centres (FCC) operating on a single network. It is scalable from battery to national level, and can interface with an air operations centre (AOC) providing upper-level C2. It is weapon system-agnostic, and can be used across the spectrum of GBAD from very short-range AD (VSHORAD) to ballistic missile defence (BMD). Existing GBAD systems can be integrated using a gateway to convert the necessary data.
NCES has an open architecture and is based on an application layer on existing or new communications networks. Sensors and weapons systems are linked to fire control centres (FCC) via communication network access points (NAP). This means that the GBAD organisation is no longer constrained by a battery being linked to an organic sensor and C2 system.
Additional effectors can simply be added to the network via a NAP, as can additional sensors that add to the recognised air picture. NCES is a plug-and-play system, so when a new effector or sensor joins the network it is immediately recognised and incorporated into the defensive organisation.
The network can be reconfigured on the fly, and control passed from one FCC to another if necessary. Mobile sensors, effectors, and a mobile FCC can also be integrated and can join any part of the wider system as the tactical situation demands, or if there is a temporary requirement to cover a particular area.
NCES provides dynamic automatic target assessment and allocation, and is designed particularly to handle a mixed military and civilian air environment using specially developed complex algorithms.
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