Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft
U.S. Air Force Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Wins $464 Million U.S. Air Force Contract for E-11A Comms Relay Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $464,399,742 contract action for Battlefield Airborne Communications Node E-11A (BACN E-11A) platform maintenance and main operating base contractor logistics support establishment. This task order provides for operations and sustainment of the BACN E-11A platform subsystems and ancillary equipment to continue effective flight operations to include the continental U.S. and outside the continental U.S. locations, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and supply requirements for the E-11A aircraft and associated support equipment.

In addition, this acquisition will establish a main operating base at an Air Force base in the continental U.S. for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node E-11A (BACN E-11A) fleet to support training and deployed operations. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 23, 2028. This contract was a competitive acquisition, and one offer was received. Fiscal 2023 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $37,601,066 are being obligated at the time of award. U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity.

Advertisement
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Arthur, the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Communications Squadron commander poses for a photo next to new U.S. Air Force E-11A BACN aircraft arrives at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dec. 16, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shannon Bowman)

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) is a U.S. Ait Force airborne communications relay and gateway system carried by the unmanned EQ-4B and the manned Bombardier E-11A aircraft. BACN 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. Its ability to translate between dissimilar communications systems allows them to interoperate without modification. BACN can enable air and surface forces to overcome communications difficulties caused by mountains, other rough terrain, or distance.

The E-11A is a modified, Bombardier Global Express 6000/BD700-1A10 business jet equipped with specialized communications relay equipment to translate between tactical comm and data links.It provides joint range extension, BLOS C2, and internet protocol-based data transfer between dissimilar systems. E-11A was fielded to meet an urgent operational need for BLOS air-to-ground relay. The system entered combat in Afghanistan in 2008 and enables troops to overcome comm limitations in rugged terrain. The combined BACN fleet has provided near-constant coverage in theater, surpassing 100,000 flying hours in 2019.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.