NORTHROP WINS KEY BACN CONTRACT
14 Jul 09. The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $276 million contract on June 24 for fielding and operational deployment of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), an airborne communications system that provides warfighters with critical real-time battlefield information.
The 653rd Electronic Systems Group, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., made the award to fulfill an urgent and compelling requirement for enhanced communications capability for Overseas Contingency Operation. Tasking under the joint urgent operational need includes installing BACN on two Bombardier BD-700 Global Express aircraft and two Global Hawk Block 20 unmanned aerial vehicles.
The contract will also fund the company’s support for continuing operations of the existing BACN-equipped BD-700, which the Air Force deployed to meet warfighter requirements in December 2008.
“BACN’s ability to translate and share data among disparate battlefield communications systems using our gateway manager algorithms and Internet protocols resolves interoperability problems, provides commanders and warfighters with battle-space-awareness, and most importantly, gives the ground soldier persistent communications with ground support platforms and command centers,” said Roger Fujii, vice president of Network Communication Systems for Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector.
Designed for use in a variety of unmanned and manned aircraft, BACN is a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server. BACN extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies and “translates” among incompatible communications systems to enable information sharing and enhanced situational awareness. Northrop Grumman developed BACN under a Defense Microelectronics Activity contract as part of the Interim Gateway program.
“Battlefield communications advancements in aerial gateway technology have significantly enhanced our warfighter’s combat effectiveness and capability to stop the adversary while saving countless lives of our troops and allied forces,” said Colonel Cordell DeLapena, commander of the 653rd Electronic Systems Group at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.