Bombardier’s US-based subsidiary Learjet and its Defence division have delivered the first Global 6000 aircraft in special mission configuration to the US Air Force (USAF).

This delivery falls under the USAF’s battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) programme, based at Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB) in Massachusetts, US.

This is the first mission-configured Global aircraft delivered under a USAF contract awarded in 2021.

With a ceiling value of around $464.8m, this contract involves up to six modified Global 6000s.

Deliveries of the next two aircraft are expected later this year and in 2023.

Work is being performed by Bombardier’s engineers and technicians from its Wichita site in the US.

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BACN installation on the aircraft is also performed at the company’s Kansas site.

Bombardier’s teams at its Tucson and Arizona facilities complete the final interiors and exterior painting work.

Bombardier Defence vice-president Steve Patrick said: “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 special configuration BACN-equipped Global aircraft is part of the E-11A fleet and is also called ‘Wi-Fi in the Sky’ by the USAF.

It acts as a high-altitude communications gateway for the BACN programme by conveying voice and data between the air and land forces.

USAF BACN Material Leader lieutenant colonel Eric Inkenbrandt said: “The BACN programme reduces communication issues associated with incompatible systems, adverse terrain and distance.

“BACN increases interoperability which results in forces that execute faster, more reliably, and with less risk to the warfighters.”

Apart from the 2021 contract, Bombardier has also supplied four Global aircraft for the BACN programme, as part of another previously awarded agreement.