Northrop Grumman brings home BACN contract

The US Air Force today announced a $276 million contract that buys three Bombardier Global Express business jet and five powerful new communications relay systems.

The latter is the Northrop Grumman Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN). This payload is designed to translate data messages sent by radios with incompatible waveforms, perhaps alleviating one of the military’s most persistently annoying problems. A BACN has even demonstrated the ability to link the F-22′s exclusive intra-flight data link with non-stealthy aircraft, such as the E-3 AWACS.

Nothrop is required to install the payload on three Global Express jets and two RQ-4B Block 20 Global Hawks. This mini-fleet of communications relay aircraft must be ready for “sustained deployment through 2015″.

The contract marks a major coup for Bombardier, which has previously sold the Global Express as a military aircraft only for the UK’s R1 Sentinel ASTOR. Northrop had originally partnered with Gulfstream for BACN, but the partnership broke apart around the same time that Boeing and Gulfstream teamed up in a losing bid to win the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) deal.

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2 Responses to Northrop Grumman brings home BACN contract

  1. Zsolt 25 June, 2009 at 5:53 am #

    Steve, how much of the $276M to NG for the BACN package? Wait, does not matter. The return on their investment has to be quite nice.

  2. SMSgt Mac 26 June, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    What an unfortunate, yet entertaining program acronym.

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