Northrop Grumman has delivered an updated Global Hawk drone equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node to the Air Force, the company announced Tuesday.
According to the company, the BACN is designed to bridge and extends voice communications and information sharing from several sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.
“By pairing BACN and Global Hawk, military commanders can provide the system’s critical capabilities during a single flight lasting more than 30 hours,” said George Guerra, Northrop vice president for the Global Hawk program. “This is important when ground units operate in mountainous terrain where land-based communications systems don’t function as well.”
The company won $156 million in contract awards from the Air Force in July to extend deployment of the nodes on three Global Hawks.
The most recent system was produced and delivered four months ahead of schedule, the company said.
Currently, two other EQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft and three E-11A Bombardier Global Express BD-700 aircraft have the BACN on board.
Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. received the newest system after a flight from the company’s Palmdale, Calif. production facility.