Defense

August 19, 2013

Communications capability surpasses 50,000 flight hours

Tags:
Patty Welsh
Hanscom AFB, Mass.

An E-11A aircraft outfitted with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, flies at an undisclosed location. BACN enables interoperability across voice and datalink networks and it recently surpassed 50,000 flight hours.

A Life Cycle Management Center program managed at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., that ensures war fighters can stay connected reached a significant milestone last week.

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, translates and distributes imagery, video, voice and data between warfighters, both in the air and on the ground, who may be operating on different networks. On Aug. 11, BACN achieved over 50,000 flight hours of service.

“BACN provides crucial 24/7 communications support to war fighters by bridging disparate elements,” said Maj. William Holl, program manager. “We constantly get feedback from theater telling us how important BACN is for their missions.”

The system can act as a high-altitude relay, providing reliable, dynamic communication links. Some of the types of missions BACN has been used for include airdrop and airstrike operations, ensuring 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,” said Holl.

The program began as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration in 2006 to meet the challenges associated with operating in mountainous regions with limited line-of-sight, and in 2009 became a Joint Urgent Operational Need program to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

The system currently operates on two platforms: the E-11A, a modified Bombardier business jet, and the EQ-4B, a modified Global Hawk Block 20 remotely piloted vehicle.

“Since the first aircraft with BACN deployed in 2008, this critical capability has now been provided to our warfighters for more than 50,000 hours,” said Col. Anthony Genatempo, Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division senior materiel leader. “We’re proud of that, however, we’re constantly looking to see how we can optimize the system’s abilities to provide even more support.”

A recent significant change is the ability to fly multiple EQ-4Bs equipped with BACN simultaneously. This allows for overlapping missions, eliminating potential gaps in coverage. Also, the team is adding another E-11A to the fleet at the end of this summer to provide additional capability. These enhancements increase flexibility in mission planning and further contribute to the current support BACN is providing in theater.

The BACN program office here has received numerous accolades from warfighters on the battlefield expressing how pleased they are with the system.

According to Holl, feedback consists of messages such as “…great communications throughout the mission…,” ” services very much appreciated,” and “…we couldn’t have completed our mission without BACN!”

He also said the team has even gotten reports back from theater saying how BACN helped saved lives.
And the program office here stands ready to continue that support.

“The 50,000 hour mark is a significant milestone,” said Genatempo, “with many, many troops provided a truly outstanding capability. The entire BACN team is poised to continue this excellent service for as long as the war fighter needs it.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>