More about the spooky NASA WB-57F Battlefield Airborne Communication Node activity

After publishing the article about the NASA’s WB-57 planes, Aviationintel‘s Tyler Rogoway provided some more details about the BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communication Node).

“BACN actually provides an active net over the battlefield and works as an almost “universal translator” when it comes to various datalinks used in different platforms (LINK16/SADL/FDL)” he wrote me.

“It orbits high up and basically receives various platform’s datalink data, then translates all that data and redistributes it in a fused manner back to different platforms in the operating area. For instance, guard F-16s equipped with SADL could receive LINK 16 info, and even the Raptor’s fighter data link could could rebroadcast in LINK16/MIDS/SADL language etc via BACN. It is the biggest force multiplier out there.”

As an active net, BACN provides connectivity down to almost ground level.

Tyler has a clear idea of what the NASA 928 was doing yesterday out of MCAS Miramar:

“[It was flying there] probably to provide an active training net to fighters, bombers, support aircraft, helicopters, missile batteries etc (once again even allowing low level connectivity) and providing that total picture to commanders over the horizon as well. Probably an exercise at Camp Pendleton or whatever.”

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.