The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $276 million contract for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), an airborne communications system. The contract includes installing BACN on two Bombardier BD-700 Global Express aircraft and two Global Hawk Block 20 UAVs. The company said the pact also includes its support for the existing BACN-equipped BD-700, which the Air Force deployed in December 2008. "BACN's ability to translate and share data among disparate battlefield communications systems using our gateway manager algorithms and Internet protocols resolves interoperability problems, provides commanders and warfighters with battle-space-awareness, and most importantly, gives the ground soldier persistent communications with ground support platforms and command centers," said Roger Fujii, vice president of Network Communication Systems for Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. BACN is designed for use in a variety of unmanned and manned aircraft. It extends communications ranges, bridges between radio frequencies and "translates" among incompatible communications systems to enable information sharing and enhanced situational awareness, Northrop Grumman said.