Northrop Grumman has secured a $3.6bn indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) contract from the US Air Force (USAF).

Under the contract, Northrop will provide continued BACN operations, sustainment and support services through 2026.

The contract includes activities such as research, development, test, evaluation, integration and operations, as well as sustainment.

These support services are for BACN system’s current and future payloads and related ground stations or controls, ancillary equipment, support equipment and system integration laboratories.

Northrop Grumman networked information solutions division vice-president and general manager Ben Davies said: “We are honoured to work with the airforce to continue to bring the critical gateway communications capabilities of the BACN programme to US warfighters operating around the world.

“This IDIQ award demonstrates the commitment to the continued success of the BACN programme.”

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Work under the contract will be carried out in San Diego, California, US, and other overseas locations and run until 24 January 2026. A sum of $23.7m has already been committed with the initial task order during the time of the contract award.

The BACN is an airborne communications relay and gateway system. It provides the capability to exchange voice and tactical data, as well as imagery from several land, air, sea sources.

This helps improve situational awareness communications and coordination for joint combat forces.

Recently, Northrop won a contract from Lockheed Martin to deliver new capabilities to protect the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighter.

It comes just days after the USAF downselected Northrop Grumman as sole contractor to provide F-16 electronic EW suite.