The US Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $47.2 million contract for the purchase and integration of two more Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payloads on two existing Block 20 Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
The BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway system that maintains operational communications at all times providing enhanced situational awareness and better coordination between forward elements and commanders. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battle space awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems. After the BACN payloads are integrated on the Block 20 Global Hawks, the aircraft will be designated as USAF EQ-4B unmanned systems. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system and the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft.