The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $20 million contract modification to add beyond-line-of-sight command and control (BLOS C2) capabilities to the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) information gateway system, giving war fighters access to full-motion video, imagery, voice over Internet protocol and chat messages from multiple sources.
BACN is part of the Air Force’s development of a BLOS C2 architecture to meet U.S. Central Command requirements, essentially creating a wireless Internet over the battlefield.
Under the contract, Northrop Grumman will integrate Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link and associated control terminals with the BACN suite of computers and radio systems aboard one of three BACN-equipped E-11A Bombardier Global Express BD-700 aircraft platforms.
The company will also support government-sponsored BLOS C2 developmental and operational testing.
The high-altitude BACN system provides situational awareness and command and control coordination between warfighters by bridging and extending voice communications and battlespace information from numerous sources. Since the BACN system was deployed in 2008 to overcome communications limitations, it has delivered near 24/7 coverage in theater.
The BLOS C2 contract was awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Work is to be completed by June 30, 2013.
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.