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BACN Comm system hits 50,000 flight hours, now deployed on EQ-4B Global Hawks

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posted on Aug, 22 2013 @ 03:08 AM
I know that we've talked about BACN before, but I'm using the new site and we don't have a search function yet, thus the new thread. But the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node or BACN recently hit 50,000 hours of flight time. Considering its only been operational (somewhat, more below) since 2008, that's a significant amount of flight hours.

Until recently, BACN flew on modified Bombardier business jets known as E-11A's. With the introduction of the EQ-4B global hawks deployed with this system, its able to give continuous support 24/7 over Afghanistan to military members on the ground.

Airmen utilize the BACN to translate and distribute imagery, video, voice and data between warfighters, both in the air and on the ground, who may be operating on different networks.
"BACN provides crucial 24/7 communications support to warfighters by bridging disparate elements," said Maj. William Holl, the BACN program manager at the Life Cycle Management Center here. "We constantly get feedback from (troops in the) theater telling us how important BACN is for their missions."

The system can act as a high-altitude relay, providing reliable, dynamic communication links, officials said. Some of the types of missions BACN has been used for include airdrop and airstrike operations, where it ensured situational awareness. The system has been especially useful in rugged terrain areas by providing a beyond-line-of-sight capability.

"Without BACN, ground forces in Afghanistan would have to rely on much slower satellite communications -- and a few seconds can make all the difference when you are under fire," Holl said.

The Air Force teamed with Northrop to build the system which began as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator in 2006. But because of the necessity of the system in theater, it became a Joint Urgent Operational Need, and was rushed to Afghanistan for a little in theater testing. That's probably why it was flown on the business jets in the first place. But since the E-11A's have worked so well, they plan to add another one this year.



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