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Bombardier going after BACN

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posted on May, 22 2008 @ 05:31 PM
The USAF BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node) program has had a startling change of aircraft for the test program. Originally they were going to switch from the NASA WB-57 that had been testing the systems, to a G550, then the program disappeared about a year ago. When it came back to light recently, it was installed on a Bombardier Global Express XRS.

The future of this program isn't known, because some in the USAF love the idea, and others are opposed to it. One of the main missions of the program would be as a relay between the F-22, with their LPI IFDL, and other aircraft, such as the F-15. The BACN aircraft would be able to take the information from the F-22, and retransmit it over the datalinks used by other aircraft. In extreme cases, it could even transmit the signal from an F-22 to a soldier on the ground over a cell phone.

Bombardier appears to be the leading contender for the program now.

Testing of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) is continuing forward. During the month of February, Bombardier Global Express test aircraft N901GX has flown test sorties out of NAS North Island, CA in support of the program. The aircraft has been changed considerably since it was last seen in SoCal, near the end of 2007. It now appears to be outfitted in the Sentinel R1 configuration, including the lower radome, which would normally contain the Raytheon built Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR). 901GX was originally brought in to be used as a test bed for the BACN system in 2007, making its first flight with the equipment onboard in August of that year.

In January 2007, NASA's WB-57 #926 flew numerous test missions into the Edwards AFB range in support of BACN, while being based out of March ARB. NASA 926 was the first aircraft to have BACN technology installed, and it has been utilized in the program on and off since the beginning. The BACN system is designed to be used at high altitudes, which makes the high flying WB-57 a good choice for a flight test bed. 926 had flown earlier BACN test missions from MCAS Miramar in 2007, and it now wears numerous stickers from the various Miramar squadrons on it's nose.

[edit on 5/22/2008 by Zaphod58]

posted on May, 22 2008 @ 05:47 PM
I wonder why the Scaled Composates White Knight is not being considered for this?

posted on May, 22 2008 @ 06:29 PM
reply to post by FredT

Actually, Bombardier is a good choice for this because they have
VAST experience in Corporate Aviation, Military UAV construction,
and ruggedized aviation products procurement to militaries around
the world..Their products ranging from mid-size jets to avionics packages,
to autonomous UAV's ain't cheap but they have been BATTLE-proven over
many years (decades even) so it's a good choice.

Being Canadian, I may be a little biased towards the Canada-based
Bombardier, but from a purely MILITARY standpoint, they're a good
choice...That Global Express Jet has sometimes been customized
to go 14,000 KM without refueling which is an ASTOUNDING range
for a corporate-style jet - not to mention it's pretty damn roomy.

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