Home Air US Air Force buys 3rd ‘green’ Global 6000 for E-11A BACN conversion

US Air Force buys 3rd ‘green’ Global 6000 for E-11A BACN conversion

US Air Force new BACN aircraft program
Illustration: A BACN-equipped E-11A aircraft rolls out on the flightline at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., in July 2018. Photo: US Air Force

US Air Force personnel from Hanscom AFB recently completed the purchase of the third of overall six planned new aircraft that will carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN).

BACN program management office personnel bought the “green” Global 6000 aircraft under a $464.8 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with Learjet from last year. The contract with the US subsidiary of the Specialized Aircraft Division of Bombardier Inc. provides funds for up to six Global 6000 aircraft.

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 technology was fielded in 2009 and the first combat mission was flown over Afghanistan in December 2010. 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 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.

The BACN team contracted with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in late January 2021 for integration, sustainment, and support of the BACN program.

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