Bombardier’s Defense division has delivered a modified Global 6000 aircraft to the U.S. Air Force’s Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) program. The aircraft is the first of an order for up to six special-mission-configured Global 6000s placed by the Air Force in June 2021. To date, options for two additional aircraft have been confirmed with one delivery expected later this year and the next in 2023.
“We are proud to be able to showcase the versatility of our Global business jets and our expertise here in the U.S. to support the type of high-altitude, endurance missions required by the elite BACN program,” said Steve Patrick, Bombardier Defense vice president. “Our best-in-class Global aircraft platform offers the complete package—proven reliability, significant payload capacity, ample available power, and the highest degree of stability to support sensitive equipment.”
The 2021 contract, including options for six aircraft along with the necessary engineering and modification work, is valued at up to $465 million. Designated the E-11A by the Air Force, BACN’s Global 6000s will be used as high-altitude communications gateways. Modification work is completed at Bombardier’s facility in in Wichita, Kansas, which was designated as the company’s new U.S. headquarters last April.
Communications Node? So, it’s an air relay? Isn’t that a job better done by a UAV with 24+ hour endurance and no human lives to risk over a battlefield? Or, what’s wrong with satellite communications?