Phase II, F-22 Datalink Contracts Awarded
RESTON, Va., Oct. 18, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), under two recently awarded contracts, will continue to enhance and expand the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server that allows real-time information exchanges among many different, distant military and commercial communications systems.
The U.S. Department of Defense recently awarded the two contracts to Northrop Grumman: BACN Spiral Technical Phase II, a 16-month, $25 million contract for continuing development, and the Intraflight Datalink Gateway System, a 24-month, $8.5 million contract to integrate a data link allowing the F-22 Raptor to communicate with other platforms.
The contracts were awarded under the Defense Microelectronics Activity's Advanced Technology Support Program, which is designed to give the government access to a broad range of technologies, capabilities and expertise it can rapidly apply to improve the operational readiness of fielded U.S. Department of Defense systems. It awarded Northrop Grumman the first BACN contract for $25.7 million in April 2005.
Building on successful flight tests during the Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) 2006, Northrop Grumman will add new capabilities, miniaturize the BACN hardware, migrate the system to new platforms, and add a communications relay capability for the F-22.
"BACN is the linchpin that integrates the Air Force's ConstellationNet to a global network capable of connecting users to the Global Information Grid. That network-centric system will give our warfighters access to information when and where they need it," said Mike Twyman, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' communication and information systems business unit.
The Global Information Grid is the U.S. military's Internet-like network.
During JEFX 2006, BACN demonstrated the capability to provide, in operational conditions, fully-secured critical digital battlefield and voice information directly to airborne and ground units and command centers. JEFX was conducted April 21 to 28 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The system is designed for use in a variety of unmanned and manned aircraft, operating optimally at extremely high altitudes. At JEFX, the BACN payload was carried on NASA's WB-57 high-altitude aircraft, which served as a surrogate for the Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.
BACN provides a high-speed, Internet protocol (IP)-based airborne network infrastructure that supports seamless movement of imagery, video, voice and digital messages between disparate tactical data and IP networks, giving warfighters access to integrated, shared information and increasing collaboration. The waveforms supported include single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS), demand assigned multiple access (DAMA), enhanced position location reporting system (EPLRS)/situation awareness data link (SADL), Link 16, and IP-based networking connectivity using tactical targeting network technology, tactical common data link and 802.11b waveforms.
BACN also provides voice relay and bridging among different tactical and cellular voice systems. This cell phone-to-radio bridging would allow, for example, Special Operations Forces using a cell phone to call directly into a fighter cockpit for targeting information. It would also enable police and fire units to talk with ambulances and the National Guard during a civil emergency. BACN employs a revolutionary capability developed by Northrop Grumman for the Joint Forces Command, the joint translator/forwarder, to accomplish digital-message transformation.
BACN is being developed by Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector for the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; the Air Force Aerospace Command and Control, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; and the Joint Forces Command, headquartered in Norfolk, Va.
The Northrop Grumman-lead team developing BACN includes the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston; Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Raytheon Solipsys, Laurel, Md.; L3 Communications, Salt Lake City; Qualcomm Inc., San Diego; and ViaSat Inc., Carlsbad, Calif.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems