> our title:

Northrop to Fit Comms Node on Global Hawk UAVs

> original title:

Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Integration of Battlefield Airborne Communications Node on Global Hawks

(Source: Northrop Grumman; issued January 30, 2012)


SAN DIEGO --- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation 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 aircraft.

BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway system that maintains operational communications support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The persistent connectivity that BACN provides improves situational awareness and enables better coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battlespace awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.

After the BACN payloads have been integrated on the Block 20 Global Hawks, the aircraft will be designated as USAF EQ-4B unmanned systems, providing long endurance and high persistence gateway capabilities.

"The addition of two more BACN systems on Global Hawks will decisively enhance the required 24/7 gateway capability," said Claude Hashem, vice president of the network communications systems business at Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. "The EQ-4B unmanned systems will continue to provide long endurance and unsurpassed communications persistence to our warfighters."

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN system and the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The company was awarded the first BACN contract in April 2005 by the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. The Global Hawk program is managed by the Air Force Aerospace Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

"This latest award continues the BACN program tradition of delivering new capability on compressed timelines that meets the operational needs," said Steve Zell, Northrop Grumman BACN program director.

Northrop Grumman's work on the BACN program is managed and performed in San Diego with Global Hawk integration performed in Palmdale, Calif.


Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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