USAF orders six more BACN Global 6000s

Six additional Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN)-configured Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft have been ordered by the US Air Force (USAF).

A US$464.85m indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity sole source acquisition contract was awarded to Learjet Inc by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB), Massachusetts, on June 1. The deal covers the procurement of six aircraft, as well as the work needed to bring them to BACN standard.

E-11A BACN [USAF/Senior Airman Bryan Guthrie]
A USAF-operated E-11A BACN - serial 12-9506 (c/n 9506) - from the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron rests on the ground at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates after participating in an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) integration exercise at the base on March 24, 2021. USAF/Senior Airman Bryan Guthrie

Work under this contract will be performed in Wichita, Kansas, and is expected to be completed by May 2026. An initial US$70m is fiscal year 2021 aircraft procurement funds was released at the time of the initial delivery order.

The type – which is designated the E-11A BACN in USAF service – has proved to be an invaluable asset to the air arm. Due to this, the air force formally announced its intention to acquire six additional examples by the end of 2026 on February 6, 2021. Initially, the USAF acquired four E-11As, which are operated by the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

One example – serial 11-9358 (c/n 9358) – was destroyed in a crash in Afghanistan on January 27, 2020, which resulted in the deaths of the two crew members onboard the platform at the time. A year later – on January 21, 2021 – an official accident investigation report revealed that following the catastrophic failure of one engine, the crash was caused by the crew inadvertently shutting down the other working engine.