SAN DIEGO, Calif., Feb. 2, 2012. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a $47.2 million contract for the purchase and integration of two more Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payloads on two existing Block 20 Global Hawk aircraft.
BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway system that maintains constant operational communications. The persistent connectivity that BACN provides offers situational awareness and coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battlespace awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.
After the BACN payloads have been integrated on the Block 20 Global Hawks, the aircraft will be designated as USAF EQ-4B unmanned systems, providing long endurance and high persistence gateway capabilities.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system and the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in April 2005 by the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The Global Hawk program is managed by the Air Force Aerospace Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Northrop Grumman's work on the BACN program is managed and performed in San Diego with Global Hawk integration performed in Palmdale, Calif.