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Grumman awarded $173M to support BACN airborne communications system

By Allen Cone
The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node is designed to work on RQ-4 Global Hawk drones, pictured, to enhance situational awareness capabilities. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force
The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node is designed to work on RQ-4 Global Hawk drones, pictured, to enhance situational awareness capabilities. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz/U.S. Air Force

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded $172 million to Northrop Grumman to manage the payload technology for a battlefield communications system.

This one-year contract, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, provides the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node with payload operation and support.

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The BACN system allows ground troops to reach needed support over mountainous terrain with imagery, video, voice and data. The system can also act as a high-altitude relay, including airdrop and airstrike operations.

The system is designed to work with the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system and the BD700 manned aircraft platform, flown by the Air Force as the E-11A. Last September, Grumman received $265 million for support of four BACN E-11A aircraft.

Work on the contract will be conducted in San Diego, Calif., and other overseas locations, with completion expected by Jan. 23, 2019.

A total of $56 million will be obligated from fiscal 2018 overseas contingency operation and maintenance funds at the time of the award.

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