ORLANDO, Fla. – July 8, 2019 – The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), developed, operated and maintained by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) for the U.S. Air Force, has been honored as an innovative mission-enabling system by the Air Force Association (AFA).

Air Forces BACN Receives AFA Innovation Award
With new hardware and software capabilities in development, the BACN system — shown here aboard a BACN EQ-4B Global Hawk — is well equipped to provide resilient communications to the warfighter into its second decade of deployment. (Photo credit: Alan Radecki, Northrop Grumman)

AFA’s Martin H. Harris Chapter presented the Innovative Solution Enabling Airmen and their Worldwide Mission award during AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, March 1.

BACN is often described as ‘Wi-Fi in the sky.” The BACN system is a high-altitude, airborne gateway that translates and distributes voice communications, video, imagery and other battle space information from numerous sources. Using a suite of computers and radio systems, it bridges and extends communications among disparate users and different datalink networks to provide situational awareness and enable better command and control coordination between warfighters and commanders.

“BACN has made a tremendous difference in mission success for our warfighters,” said Roshan Roeder, vice president, communications systems, Northrop Grumman. “The accolades BACN has received over the past decade are testament to the critical capabilities BACN provides and the contributions this innovative system has made to increased readiness and mission effectiveness.”

As part of the ceremony, the Martin H. Harris Chapter recognized the company’s contributions by designating Northrop Grumman with a Presentation Fellowship. The AFA Aerospace Education Fellowship program provides a way for AFA chapters to honor and recognize significant contributions while funding and expanding AFA's education programs.

The BACN fleet comprises four E-11A manned systems and four Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Block 20 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems. Since the BACN system was deployed in 2008, it has delivered near 24/7 coverage in theater and maintained a payload availability rate of greater than 98 percent.

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