Bombardier has a new U.S. Air Force order worth at least $70 million for a new “special mission configuration” Global 6000 aircraft from the Learjet Inc. subsidiary. The order includes engineering and modification work, with options for up to five more jets with the same reconfiguration, putting the full estimated value at up to $465 million.
The aircraft will be outfitted with the Northrop Grumman Battlefield Airborne Communications Node to serve as part of the USAF’s E-11A aircraft, which allow the Air Force to “rapidly respond to the operational needs of combatant commanders worldwide,” according to a spokeswoman.
The USAF Battlefield Airborne Communications Node is a communications “relay and gateway” system carried by unmanned Northrop Grumman Global Hawk surveillance drones and the piloted Bombardier E-11A aircraft – the specially outfitted Global 6000. The BACN allows real-time information flow across combat zones via tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation. The system extends the range of communication and bridges between radio frequencies, translating information between incompatible communications systems.
Bombardier’ Global Express is a series of business jets – the Global 6000 being the third generation, sized to carry 13 passengers. It is typically powered by Rolls-Royce turbofan engines, either the BR700 or the newer Pearl engine.
Bombardier Specialized Aircraft in Wichita will modify the Global6000 to with the USAF’s Battlefield Airborne Communications Node equipment, and teams in Tucson will fabricate the aircraft’s specialized interior and carry out the exterior painting.
The award to Bombardier is an “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” that allows the USAF the flexibility to order new and replacement jets. Bombardier has delivered four Global aircraft to the U.S. Air Force for the BACN program since 2007.