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New aircraft to support battlefield communications fleet

  • Published
  • By K. Houston Waters
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. –Hanscom personnel recently completed the purchase of a new aircraft in support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, program.

BACN program management office personnel made the purchase of the Green Global 6000 through an execution of the $464.8 million contract with Learjet, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the Specialized Aircraft Division of Bombardier Inc., last June. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract provides funds for up to six Global 6000 aircraft.

This is the third new aircraft purchased under the contract.

According to Elizabeth Rosa, the BACN Integrated Procurement Team lead, this effort will boost the BACN fleet by increasing aircraft availability to meet global demand.

“These new aircraft will support current and future around-the-clock operations while scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and planned modifications are performed,” she said.

BACN technology reduces line-of-sight issues by enabling real-time information flow across the battlespace between similar and dissimilar tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation. 

The BACN team purchased the first new aircraft in fiscal year 2021. Delivery of that aircraft is expected later this fall, Rosa added.

Once a Global 6000 is outfitted with BACN technology, it is reclassified as an E-11A. Currently, three E-11A aircraft carry the BACN payload.

Because of its flexible deployment options and ability to operate at high altitudes, BACN allows air and surface forces to overcome communications difficulties caused by mountains, rough terrain, or distance. BACN provides critical information to all operational echelons, which increases situational awareness by correlating tactical and operational air and ground environments. 

The BACN team contracted with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in late January 2021 for integration, sustainment, and support of the BACN program. Click here to read more about that effort.

Rosa expects the team to purchase the next Global 6000 in fiscal year 2023.

The BACN program office is a branch of the Aerial Networks Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorate, headquartered here.