USAF awards USD3.6bn BACN contract

by Gareth Jennings

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman USD3.6 billion for continued Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) operations, sustainment, and support.

The USAF fields three Bombardier Global 6000 regional jet-based E-11A (one of the original four was lost on operations in Afghanistan in 2020) and three Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft in the BACN role. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The USAF fields three Bombardier Global 6000 regional jet-based E-11A (one of the original four was lost on operations in Afghanistan in 2020) and three Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft in the BACN role. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 21 January, the award “provides for research, development, test, and evaluation, integration, and operations and sustainment for existing and future payloads contained in or connected to the BACN system and associated ground stations or controls, ancillary equipment, support equipment, and system integration laboratories.”

Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and at undisclosed overseas locations, and is expected to be completed by 24 January 2026.

The BACN system, which comprises three Bombardier Global 6000 regional jet-based E-11A (one of the original four was lost on operations in Afghanistan in 2020) and three Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, is designed to increase the range of voice communications in mountainous terrain by relaying the signal over an extended distance. It can also act as a bridge between frequencies, enabling a convoy commander on a frequency-limited radio to talk with a supporting close-air-support asset on a different frequency.

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The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman USD3.6 billion for continued Battlefield Airbor...

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