The Air Force recently awarded Bombardier a $465 million contract for up to six more E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft.
The E-11A, a heavily modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jet, acts as “Wi-Fi in the sky.” It is used heavily in Afghanistan, connecting troops on the ground, communications systems, and radios.
The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract includes a firm order for one aircraft, with as many as five to follow. Bombardier will modify the aircraft at its Wichita, Kansas, facility with interior and paint work to be done at its facility in Tucson, Arizona, the company said in a press release.
“Bombardier is proud to be chosen once again by the U.S. Air Force to provide our high-performing global aircraft and our unique expertise in support of the BACN program,” said Michel Ouellette, Bombardier’s executive vice president of specialized aircraft, programs, and engineering. “Our U.S.-based employees are honored to be lending their skills in support of this elite project.”
The Air Force, in its fiscal 2022 budget request, said it will buy one E-11 immediately to replace the one that crashed in Afghanistan in January 2020, bringing the fleet back up to four.
The service also announced May 28 it would base an E-11 squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, if it is able to retire the E-8C Joint STARS fleet.