BACN Payloads for Two More Global Hawks

The Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $47.2 million contract for the purchase and integration of two Battlefield Airborne Communications Node payloads on two RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20 remotely piloted aircraft. The Defense Department announced this transaction on Wednesday in its daily list of major contracts. The service will provide these two Global Hawk air vehicles, designated AF-11 and AF-13, to Northrop for integration of the BACN payloads at the company’s facility in Palmdale, Calif. The service anticipates that the payload integration on AF-11 will be completed next August and will be done on AF-13 next December. The Air Force already has two BACN-equipped Global Hawks supporting operations in Southwest Asia. Designated EQ-4s, they serve an important function as overhead communications-relay platforms for ground troops. USAF also operates several manned E-11A aircraft equipped with BACN.