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Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System Completes 2,000 Tactical Missions
by Staff Writers
San Diego CA (SPX) Jul 07, 2011

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The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system, developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Air Force, completed its 2,000th mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on June 25.

BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications gateway system flying on five separate aircraft to maintain operational support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The persistent connectivity BACN provides improves situational awareness and enables better coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders.

Since the system was deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2008, BACN has accumulated more than 20,000 operational flight hours in 2,000 missions and delivered a mission availability rate of 98 percent.

Using a suite of computers and radio systems, BACN connects disparate voice and datalink networks, 'bridges' between radio frequencies, and extends communications ranges to enhance tactical situational awareness information throughout the battlespace.

Northrop Grumman and teammate Orion Air Group provide 24/7 operations and support of the BACN system.

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 Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., where the development testing, and demonstration activity was conducted on a NASA high- altitude aircraft prior to going operational.

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