Sep 16, 2022
Bombardier today announced that its Defense division, along with its U.S. subsidiary Learjet Inc., delivered a Global aircraft in special mission configuration to the U.S. Air Force Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) program based at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts.
“The defense sector is a key pillar of Bombardier’s future as our ultra-reliable and high-performing platforms are best suited to house and operate complex mission equipment,” said Éric Martel, President and CEO of Bombardier. “We are proud that our jets and know-how are being increasingly recognized around the world in this sphere, and this delivery is a milestone, first of its kind since appointing Wichita as the home base for Bombardier Defense.”
The latest delivery, a Global 6000 aircraft, is the first mission-configured aircraft to be supplied under a contract for up to six modified Global 6000 aircraft, announced in June 2021 and which represents a potential total value of up to $464.8-million USD (the “2021 contract”). Bombardier has already delivered four Global aircraft to the BACN program under previous agreements. Under the 2021 contract, the USAF has confirmed firm orders for three Global 6000 aircraft, with the next two deliveries expected in 2022 and 2023. The USAF has announced its potential to purchase an additional aircraft each year through 2025 under the 2021 contract.
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“The BACN program reduces communication issues associated with incompatible systems, adverse terrain, and distance. BACN increases interoperability which results in forces that execute faster, more reliably, and with less risk to the warfighter. The delivery of 21-9045 is the pivotal first step to advancing the mission this program provides.” – Lt Col Eric Inkenbrandt
As part of the critical BACN program, Bombardier’s Global aircraft serve as high-altitude communications gateways, relaying or bridging voice and data between air and surface forces and handily surmounting traditional obstacles such as mountains, rough terrain or distance. Dubbed “Wi-Fi in the sky” by the USAF, BACN-equipped Global aircraft are referred to as the E-11A fleet.
“We are proud to be able to showcase the versatility of our Global business jets and our expertise here in the U.S. to support the type of high-altitude, endurance missions required by the elite BACN program,” said Steve Patrick, Vice President, Bombardier Defense. “Our best-in-class Global aircraft platform offers the complete package--proven reliability, significant payload capacity, ample available power, and the highest degree of stability to support sensitive equipment. This, along with top notch design, manufacturing and certification expertise required to carry out modifications makes Bombardier Global aircraft the optimal choice for conversion to specialized assets.”
In April 2022, Bombardier designated its Wichita site as its new U.S. Headquarters and launched Bombardier Defense as strategic expansion of its existing Specialized Aircraft division.
Engineers and technicians at Bombardier Defense in Wichita, Kansas perform the complex engineering and modification work on green Global 6000 aircraft to support the BACN installation, while teams at the Bombardier site in Tucson, Arizona complete the interiors and perform the exterior painting work.
More than 550 Bombardier Global, Challenger and Learjet business aircraft are currently performing specialized missions worldwide, from securing airspace, borders and infrastructure to head-of-state transport and humanitarian assistance including long-range medical evacuations.