8 JUNE 2017 MILITARY & AEROSPACE ELECTRONICS www.militaryaerospace.com
EQ-4B UAV to provide battlefield
networking and situational awareness
BY JOHN KELLER
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Battlefield communications experts at
Northrop Grumman Corp. are
equipping long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with
military networking equipment to
provide situational awareness to
Officials of the U.S. Air Force
Life Cycle Management Center at
Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.,
announced a $39.9 million contract
to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace
Systems segment in San Diego
to equip the EQ-4B Global Hawk
UAV with the Battle Field Airborne
Communications Node (BACN).
The contract calls for Northrop
Grumman to provide BACN payload modification, integration, and
installation onto the EQ-4B, the
BACN-equipped version of the Air
Force RQ- 4 Global Hawk long-range,
long-endurance large UAV.
The BACN payload aboard the
Global Hawk provides warfight-
ers round-the-clock with essential
information to pursue and defeat
the enemy, Northrop Grumman
officials say. The BACN airborne
executive processor (AEP) enables a
persistent gateway in the sky that
receives, bridges, and distributes
communications among partici-
pants in a battle.
BACN’s AEP provides translator
and gateway interfaces among all
supported communications systems, and forwards knowledge-based intelligence information to
the Global Information Grid.
BACN can help ground troops
overcome the limitations that
mountainous terrain places on line-of-sight communications. It acts
as an airborne communications
node that mimics satellite communications in limited theaters of
BACN bridges the gaps between
those systems, enabling situational
awareness from small ground units
in contact up to the highest command levels, Northrop Grumman
officials say. Global Hawk makes
BACN available to support the warfighter 24/7.
The Global Hawk UAV can remain
on station unrefueled for more than
34 hours. The large UAV also can
be refueled in the air from manned
refueling aircraft or from other specially outfitted Global Hawk UAVs
that act as aerial refueling aircraft.
BACN translates among tactical
data link networks, enables joint
range extension, beyond-line-of-sight connectivity for disadvantaged
users, and IP-based data exchange
among dissimilar users.
On this contract, Northrop
Grumman will do the work in San
Diego and Palmdale, Calif., and
should be finished by May 2018. Í
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit
Northrop Grumman Aerospace
Systems online at www.
northropgrumman.com, and the Air
Force Life Cycle Management Center
The EQ-4B Global Hawk UAV will act as a
battlefield communications node for frontline
networking and situational awareness.
U.S. Special Operations Command ready
to approach industry for new lightweight
satellite communications (SATCOM)
equipment for covert use on the battlefield.
Special Operations forces eye new
lightweight SATCOM communications
BY JOHN KELLER
MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S.
Special Operations Command
(SOCOM) is kicking off an industry
competition to develop a new family of lightweight satellite communications (SATCOM) equipment for
covert use on the battlefield.
SOCOM officials, based at MacDill
Air Force Base, Fla., have announced
plans to issue a solicitation later this
year for the SDN Family of Systems
(FoS) Sub One-Meter Variant (
The future SDN-Lite terminal
variants will operate in X, Ku, and