Another BACN-equipped Global Hawk Delivered

Northrop Grumman recently delivered another specially configured Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft to the Air Force, announced the company. This EQ-4B air vehicle arrived at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., on Sept. 7, some four months ahead of its delivery schedule, according to the company’s Oct. 23 release. It is the second of two Battlefield Airborne Communications Node-equipped EQ-4Bs ordered by the Air Force in December 2011 for use as overhead communications-relay platforms. The Air Force took possession of the first of these two EQ-4Bs in June, according to Northrop Grumman. Factoring the loss of an EQ-4B over Afghanistan in August 2011, there are now a total of three BACN-carrying Global Hawks in the Air Force’s operational fleet. “Our military counts on the enhanced combat effectiveness provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the BACN gateway capability,” said Claude Hashem, vice president of the company’s network and communication systems unit. The Air Force also operates three similarly equipped E-11A Global Express jets in theater, and recently ordered conversion of a fourth.