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U.S. Air Force’s E-11 BACN Aircraft; it can be found in one place, the Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

The E-11A is a U.S. Air Force aircraft that provides unparalleled communications capabilities to coalition forces on the ground and aircraft in the air. Commonly known as Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, this aircraft extends the range of communications channels and enables better communication amongst units. This element is essential because the terrain of Afghanistan may disrupt communications channels and it enables coalition forces to know what is around them when something is not in their line-of-sight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier)

There is one certain plane in the US Army’s possession that it is so unique that it can only be found in one place. The uniqueness of this plane is evident from the fact that the pilots who fly this plane are not allowed to touch it until they are authorized for deployment to a special place.

The name of this aircraft is E-11A or also most commonly known as Battlefield Airborne Communications Node or BACN. These aircraft were originally the ultra long range Business Jets that have been modified by the US Air Force to accommodate the BACN’s payload.

US Air Force currently has four of these aircraft which are assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron. These aircraft are only being operated out of Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Missions flown by these aircraft are of high importance because they act as a gateway system to transfer of information and communication through incompatible ‘radio systems’ and ‘datalinks’.

The US Air Force developed the BACN after they suffered from communication shortfalls during the Operation Red Wings; a joint US military mission in 2005 at Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Jacob Breth, 430th EECS pilot, in an official news release explained the BACN system as “Wi-Fi in the Sky”.

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