USAF awards contract for additional BACN capability

Learjet, a US subsidiary of the Specialised Aircraft Division of Bombardier, has been contracted to deliver additional Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft in support of the USAF’s Battlefield Communications Node (BACN) programme.

The June 3 announcement by Hanscom Air Force Base revealed the $464.8m contract would see up to six platforms delivered over a five-year delivery period. When configured with the BACN payload, the Global 6000 aircraft is then classified as an E-11A.

A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft rolls out on the flightline at Hanscom Air Force Base in July 2018. USAF

At present, the BACN payload is carried by seven aircraft in USAF service: three manned E-11As and four unmanned Global Hawk E-Q4Bs.

Outlining the use of the BACN capability, Elizabeth Rosa, BACN procurement lead, Aerial Networks Division, said the aircraft were required “for continuous operations outside the contiguous United States in multiple theatres of operation.”

The BACN system enables real-time information flow across the battlespace between similar and dissimilar tactical datalink and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation in line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight situations.