US: The US Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a USD 89.7 million contract option to continue operating and supporting the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system in support of overseas contingency missions. BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway that connects warfighters in the air and on the ground. The system translates and distributes voice communications, video, imagery and other battlespace information from numerous, often disparate, sources to improve situational awareness and enable better coordination among warfighters and commanders.
The Air Force has deployed four BACN E-11A systems and three BACN EQ-4B Global Hawk systems in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. "BACN is making such a tremendous difference for our warfighters that it is regarded as indispensable for mission success. The amount of positive feedback BACN receives from our warfighters is a testament to the critical support BACN currently provides and an inspiration to continuously enhance the system's capabilities,” said Jeannie Hilger, Vice President and General Manager, communications division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. To make BACN a permanent capability, the Air Force is working to establish BACN as a programme of record.
Northrop Grumman envisions BACN serving as a persistent high altitude gateway in the Joint Aerial Layer Network (JALN) to provide secure communications to disadvantaged warfighters and network connectivity across the battlespace. JALN will be a robust system of systems that expands on existing communications networks and capabilities and links ground, space and airborne military assets.
Source: Northrop Grumman