The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation for the U.S. Air Force, achieved 100,000 combat operational flight hours January 30, 2016 providing critical communications capabilities to warfighters.
BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications gateway that translates and distributes imagery, video, voice and data, often from disparate elements, enhancing situational awareness, communications and coordination for warfighters in the air and on the ground. BACN can act as a high-altitude relay and has been used for missions such as airdrop and airstrike operations.
BACN flies on seven separate aircraft – and two aircraft platforms – to provide persistent connectivity and operational support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. BACN currently operates on four E-11As, a modified Bombardier business jet, and three EQ-4Bs, Global Hawk Comms Gateway unmanned aircraft systems.
BACN achieved the 100,000 mile milestone flying more than 8,300 missions since the system was first deployed in October 2008. BACN has delivered a mission availability rate above 98%.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in April 2005 by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.