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Fourth BACN-equipped E-11A joins fleet, improves communication capabilities
A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A aircraft rolls out on the flightline at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Sept. 18. It is the fourth BACN-equipped E-11A to join the Air Force's arsenal. BACN hardware allows for communication between warfighters that are operating on different networks and has the capability to relay info between air and ground forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candice Page/Released)
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Fourth BACN-equipped E-11A joins fleet, improves communication capabilities

Posted 10/10/2013   Updated 10/10/2013 Email story   Print story


by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

10/10/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- A Life Cycle Management Center airborne weapon system made its debut recently, adding to the Air Force's battlefield communication capabilities.

Five weeks ahead of the anticipated rollout date, the fourth Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped E-11A joined the Air Force's arsenal.

"Gaining another BACN-equipped aircraft will have a significant impact for service members," said Maj. William Holl, BACN program manager. "BACN is critical to battlefield operations because it allows constant communication to occur beyond line-of-sight in steep terrain."

Installed on both E-11A and EQ-4B aircraft, BACN hardware has the capability to relay voice, video, imagery and data between warfighters both in the air and on the ground connecting those who may be operating on different networks.

Holl stated that with the addition of this latest system, the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron would be able to enhance their capability of providing 24/7 coverage to service members regardless if operating from an airborne platform or via ground means.

Currently, the Air Force BACN-equipped fleet consists of four, manned E-11As and three EQ-4B remotely piloted aircraft.

"The flexibility of operating both manned and unmanned platforms allows us far greater coverage," Holl said.

The BACN 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. However, it wasn't until 2008 when the first BACN-installed aircraft was fielded.

Holl quoted a recently deployed Solider from the field, "Soldiers were able to communicate over a broad range due to the BACN asset, which otherwise would have been unachievable. Without this asset the communication would have been far less reliable and very well may have changed the successful outcome of this mission."

As the fourth BACN-equipped E-11A enters the Air Force's arsenal, there is no doubt that "countless warfighters will benefit from the system," Holl said.

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