The USAF has ordered six Bombardier Global 6000 business jets for modification into E-11 battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) aircraft.
The US$465m (A$600m) contract will see the six aircraft initially augment (and later possibly replace) the USAF’s current three-strong manned E-11A BACN jets which are based on the earlier Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, and to also replace one E-11A which crashed in 2020. They would also possibly replace four uncrewed EQ-4B Global Hawks currently used in the role and which have been earmarked for retirement.
Produced by Northrop Grumman, BACN is a relay, bridging, and data translation payload for platforms and systems that are unable to communicate directly, either because they don’t have line of sight, or because their systems are incompatible – particularly the low-probability of intercept (LPI) systems used by low-observable aircraft.
The Global 6000 has more than 14 hours endurance and can fly at altitudes above 50,000 feet. The six aircraft are expected to have been delivered by mid-2026.