The Power of Four

The Air Force’s fourth E-11A communications-relay aircraft only recently entered the fleet, but is already making a difference supporting combat operations in Afghanistan, according to officials at Kandahar Airfield, the base from which these airplanes operate. “It’s a beautiful airplane that increases our capability to generate sorties,” said Maj. Jacob Hammons, director of operations for Kandahar’s 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron, in the base’s Oct. 22 release. The E-11As carry the Northrop Grumman-supplied suite of equipment known as the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node that enables uninterrupted communication between ground units beyond line of sight or between ground units and aircraft that might not otherwise be possible due to mountainous terrain. The newest E-11 arrived at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., on Sept. 18, before joining the rest of the fleet in Afghanistan. The E-11s, along with three BACN-equipped EQ-4B Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft, provide around-the-clock overhead support, according to the release. (Kandahar report by SrA. Jack Sanders) (See also Hanscom report by Justin Oakes.)