The US Air Force has ordered the fielding and deployment of Northrop’s battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) systems on some of its aircrafts and unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance capabilities for overseas contingency operations.

The BACN is a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server, which shares data among disparate battlefield communications systems enhancing interoperability and battle-space-awareness of the warfighters.

The BACN systems will be fitted to three BD-700 Global Express aircraft and two Global Hawk Block 20 unmanned aerial vehicles under a total contract of $276m.

Northrop Grumman will also continue operations on the USAF’s existing BACN-equipped BD-700 in deployment since December 2008.

BACN will also provide communication link between ground soldiers, ground support platforms and command centres.

The system had been developed under a Department of Defense Microelectronic Activity contract by Northrop Grumman.