Current as of February 1, 2023
Battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) is a communications relay and gateway system that provides military commanders with a versatile means of exchanging information from multiple air, ground, and maritime sources, to include host nation, joint, and coalition forces. It increases tactical situational awareness and communication abilities from the forward edge of the battlefield to operational decision makers in operations centers. BACN provides Combatant Commanders (CCDRs) a forward located, high-flying, long-loiter dedicated communication node capable of interoperable information in permissive environments. The functionality provided by BACN reduces communication issues associated with incompatible systems, adverse terrain, and distance (Line of Sight (LOS)/Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS)).
The BACN payload is hosted on the E-11A, which is a modified Bombardier Global XRS/6000-series commercial aircraft. This platform was selected due to its high-altitude flight capability. BACN refers to the BACN platform, its payload, and associated ground systems. Payload operators located at ground sites within the orbit location, monitor the status of the payload, radios, and voice communications for the duration of a mission, which allows the operators to quickly identify potential problems and correct them with minimal impact to the customers.