San Diego Business Journal

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $55.3 million, one-year contract modification to operate what one can simplistically call an internet server on what is usually a business jet that flies over a battlefield. Work will be split between San Diego and international locations.

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (aka BACN) rides on a repurposed Bombardier business jet. It can relay voice, data and video. It is particularly useful in mountainous terrain, where there is no line-of-sight communication between troops. BACN can also help otherwise incompatible radio systems communicate with each other.

The deal calls on Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) to “perform comprehensive tasks and provide personnel, facilities, aircraft subsystems and support equipment” for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node E-11A platform. Funds will come from the Pentagon’s overseas contingency budget.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management office at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts awarded the deal, announced Dec. 9.