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

Sep 05 2012 - Leave a Comment

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.”