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News > Feature - News from the source—BACN Update
News from the source—BACN Update

Posted 7/28/2009   Updated 7/28/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by DAVID L. RICHARDS, Capt, USAF
Family of Gateways Requirements Branch GCIC/RIN


7/28/2009 - Global Cyberspace Integration Center  -- News from the source--BACN Update
Global Cyberspace Integration Center: Increasing situational awareness, reducing the kill chain timeline and reliable Command and Control (C2) communications have long been critical warfighter needs. Together with Air Force acquisition partners, the Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) has developed the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) to address these needs. BACN is a communications payload capable of providing tactical data link range extension and link translation in addition to voice bridging in both Line of sight (LOS) and beyond line of sight (BLOS) modes to users throughout a theater of operations. BACN requires no change to Warfighter training or equipment and it expands, stabilizes and improves networks, requiring no major changes to procedures. The BACN concept was first introduced in 2004, demonstrated in Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 and 2008, and has gone on to prove its value to the warfighter in combat.
Reliable communication is essential to the warfighter, on the ground in the air, and through space, in order to carry out their missions. Even with advancements in technology, many of our systems remain somewhat "stove piped" in the area of tactical data links and suffer from interoperability issues with other aircraft. BACN translates data link information between diverse data networks, transparent to the operator, enabling them to communicate. Dissimilar aircraft can now prosecute targets together and can execute flawless mission coordination. Our warfighters have a clear advantage when BACN is performing its mission. Brig Gen James Holmes, 455 AEW/CC stated "BACN is a must have in the air."
Complex and rough terrain often blocks LOS and degrades communications. BACN is housed on an aircraft capable of achieving high altitudes well above most mountainous regions and is key to increasing LOS and enabling BLOS capability representing a tremendous gain in SA. Troops on the ground can now talk directly back to the major C2 nodes and direct missions from a distance without reliance on heavily tasked space assets. BACN is clearly a true force multiplier.
BACN is performing brilliantly and exceeding mission objectives. According to Lt Gen Gary North, AFCENT/CC CC "BACN is the pointy end of the spear, doing something never done before." BACN is changing the way we fight by allowing a more complete digital exchange of information and reduces this exchange from minutes to seconds. When troops are engaged with the enemy time becomes a valuable commodity every warfighter wants and needs.




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