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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.