Northrop Grumman were awarded Friday, a $172 million one-year US Air Force contract
for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN
). Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop will provide BACN payload operation and support for payload equipment and services, with work to take place at San Diego, California and overseas locations. The BACN allows ground troops
to reach needed support over mountainous terrain with imagery, video, voice and data, and it can also act as a high-altitude relay, including airdrop and airstrike operations. It is designed to work with the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV
—designated EQ-4B—and the BD700 manned aircraft platform—flown by the USAF as the E-11A. Last September, Grumman received $265 million for support of four BACN E-11A aircraft.
In late June 2009, the USAF awarded Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc., of San Diego, CA an urgent requirement contract for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) System. Under current plans, Northrop Grumman will help the USAF deploy BACN in up to 4 “E-11” Bombardier BD-700 Global Express (see also BACN-modified photo) ultra-long-range business jets, and in up to 4 EQ-4B Global Hawk Block 20 UAVs, for sustained deployment through 2015.
BACN is an airborne communications relay that extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies, and “translates” among incompatible communications systems. That may sound trivial, but on a tactical level, it definitely isn’t.