US Air Force Global Express' to become E-11
The Bombardier BD-700 Global Express aircraft being used in Afghanistan in the airborne communication node mission is being christened with the designation, E-11.
The USAF announced an $18 million contract to purchase one of the Global Express aircraft already fitted with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload in June.
Until now, the air force had been leasing the capability from Northrop Grumman and teammate Orion Air Group who operate three Global Express aircraft in the BACN role from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The operation there recently celebrated its 2,000th mission.
Northrop Grumman says the BACN aircraft use a suite of computers and radio systems to 'connect disparate voice and datalink networks, bridges between radio frequencies, and extends communications' ranges to enhance tactical situational awareness information throughout the battlespace'.
The air force aspires to eventually purchase three of the BACN Global Express and fit out two Global Hawk Block 20 UAVs with the system.
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