Aerial Warfare

Hanscom Team Awards Contract for Six BACN-equipped E-11A Aircrafts

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Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft
Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft

A Hanscom team awarded a $464.8 million contract to Learjet, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of the Specialized Aircraft Division of Bombardier Inc., on June 1 in support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node program, headquartered here. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity agreement provides funds for up to six Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft with a five-year delivery period. Currently, seven aircraft carry the BACN payload on two different platforms: three manned E-11As and four unmanned Global Hawk E-Q4Bs.

“These aircraft are required for continuous operations outside the contiguous United States in multiple theaters of operation,” said Elizabeth Rosa, BACN procurement lead, Aerial Networks Division. “This acquisition will support the mission by expanding the current fleet to provide a service retained capability to rapidly respond to the operational needs of combatant commanders worldwide.”

Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft
The E-11A is a U.S. Air Force aircraft that provides unparalleled communications capabilities to coalition forces on the ground and aircraft in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Keenan Kunst)

Once a Global 6000 has been outfitted with BACN technology, it is then classified as an E-11A. BACN technology enables real-time information flow across the battlespace between similar and dissimilar tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation in line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight situations.

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

Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft
A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft rolls out on the flightline at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., in July 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

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