BACN-equipped Global Hawk delivered to USAF
Northrop Grumman has announced that it delivered a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN)-equipped Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF) four months ahead of schedule on 7 September. The delivery is part of an ongoing BACN development, operations and maintenance contract to support US Central Command missions.
The BACN is designed to expand airborne communications and information sharing among military units in harsh environments. Produced by Northrop Grumman, BACN bridges and extends voice communications and information sharing from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems. It is also installed on two other EQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft and three E-11A Bombardier Global Express BD-700 aircraft.
George Guerra, Global Hawk unmanned air systems vice president with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said: ‘By pairing BACN and Global Hawk, military commanders can provide the system's critical capabilities during a single flight lasting more than 30 hours. This is important when ground units operate in mountainous terrain where land-based communications systems don't function as well."
The USAF awarded Northrop Grumman a $47 million contract in December 2011 for the purchase and integration of two BACN payloads on two existing Global Hawk aircraft, the first of which was delivered in June 2012. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system and the EQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in 2005 with the payload deployed for the first time in 2008.
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