Home Air US Air Force receives first of six new BACN comms node aircraft

US Air Force receives first of six new BACN comms node aircraft

US Air Force file photo of an E-11A BACN airframe at at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

US Air Force personnel from the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) team at Hanscom AFB recently added a new aircraft to their fleet.

The aircraft is the first to be delivered under a $464.8 million contract with Learjet, a US subsidiary of the Specialized Aircraft Division of Bombardier for up to six Global 6000 aircraft.

Bombardier supplied the Global 6000 aircraft during a delivery ceremony at their Hartford, Connecticut facility Sept. 1, in an event attended by over 30 program personnel, including the BACN materiel leader, Lt. Col. Eric Inkenbrandt.

“The delivery of this aircraft is a major milestone as our program pushes to provide more highly sought after capabilities to our teammates downrange,” he 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.

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 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 connects troops to combat pilots, despite adverse terrain or distance, often when terrestrial services are either restricted or unavailable.

“Our work could not be accomplished without the collaboration between our Hanscom program office and mission partners,” said Inkenbrandt. “This ceremony, and the acceptance of this aircraft, is a symbol of all of the hard work that that has gone into enabling the greater mission.”

The second aircraft is expected to be delivered later in 2022, followed by another in 2023.

The BACN team also contracted with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems for integration, sustainment, and support of the BACN program.