Northrop Grumman Awarded $3.6 Billion Contract for BACN Operations, Support

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $3.6 billion indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract by the U.S. Air Force for Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) operations, sustainment and support.

This contract provides for research, development, test, and evaluation, integration and operations and sustainment for existing and future payloads contained in or connected to the BACN system and associated ground stations or controls, ancillary equipment, support equipment and system integration laboratories.

“We are honored to work with the Air Force to continue to bring the critical gateway communications capabilities of the BACN program to U.S. warfighters operating around the world,” said Ben Davies, vice president and general manager, networked information solutions division, Northrop Grumman. “This ID/IQ award demonstrates the commitment to the continued success of the BACN program.”

Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and overseas locations, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 24, 2026. Fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance funds in the amount of $23,673,035 are being obligated with the initial task order, FA8726-21-F-0023, at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity (FA8726-21-D-0001).

Northrop Grumman’s BACN system is a high-altitude, airborne communications gateway that translates and distributes imagery, voice and tactical data from disparate elements enhancing situational awareness communications and coordination for joint warfighters operating across space, air, land and sea. BACN has been used for missions such as airdrop, convoy, humanitarian assistance, close air support, and theater air control systems operations.

The BACN system currently flies on four EQ-4B Block 20 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems and three E-11A modified business jet aircraft (Bombardier BD-700 Global Express) to provide persistent connectivity and operational support 24 hours a day, seven days a week in multiple countries.

The BACN system was first deployed in October 2008 and recently achieved its 200,000 combat flight hours milestone by flying more than 15,500 missions.

EQ-4B BACN Global Hawk
An RQ-4A Global Hawk Battle Airfrield Communication Node (BACN), serial # 04-2019, photographed during its first flight after leaving the Northrop-Grumman manufacturing facility at Palmdale, CA. on July 14, 2010. USAF Photo by Greg L. Davis.
Bombardier E-11A BACN - U.S. Air Force
A 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron E-11A aircraft outfitted with a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node sits on the runway at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, April 4, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant)



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