On Thursday, Northrop Grumman announced the delivery of a second E-11A aircraft to Robins Air Force Base, outfitted with the company’s advanced Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) technology.
As noted by the company, this strategic addition to the fleet further empowers the U.S. Air Force to efficiently support an expanded array of missions, vital in relaying critical information to frontline warfighters.
The integration of Northrop Grumman’s Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) with the modified Bombardier BD700 business jet, typifies a high-altitude airborne communications gateway. This system proficiently translates and disseminates imagery, voice, and tactical data across diverse elements, significantly enhancing situational awareness. It also fosters seamless interoperability for joint and coalition forces, effectively bridging operations across air, space, land, and sea domains.
The latest E-11A, an extensively modified Bombardier Global 6500 business jet, joins the fleet that currently consists of three other E-11As, based on BD-700 and Global 6000 variants.
Currently operated by the USAF’s 430th Expeditionary Electronic Communications Squadron, the first aircraft plays a pivotal role in delivering communication coverage to both ground and air forces actively engaged in combat zones.
Featuring dimensions of 99ft 5in (30.3m) in length, a wingspan of 94ft (28.7m), and standing at a height of 25ft 6in (7.8m), the aircraft boasts a maximum take-off weight of 45,132kg and a payload capacity of 2,617kg. Manned by a crew of two pilots, it offers accommodation for up to 17 passengers.
The E-11A design prioritizes ample cabin space, allowing for the integration of mission-specific equipment and the transport of crew belongings.
Anticipating a substantial reinforcement in capabilities, the U.S. Air Force foresees the receipt of six additional E-11As by the culmination of 2026.