Robins Begins New Period with Its First E-11A BACN Jet

Robins Air Drive Base, Ga., kicked off a brand new period late final month when its first E-11A arrived.

The modified enterprise jet, which landed April 24, is provided with a Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) that serves as a communication relay commanders can use to alternate info with air, floor, and sea belongings each throughout the joint forces and with allies and companions.

Although the E-11A has been in fight service for the Air Drive since 2008, when it helped troops in Afghanistan overcome communication limitations in rugged terrain, its arrival at Robins is a milestone as the bottom transitions from the retiring E-8 JSTARS plane to a brand new set of missions. In February, the bottom activated the 18th Airborne Command and Management Squadron, which can function the E-11A.

“We principally lengthen the vary of lots of communication methods, be they radio or information hyperlink, after which we permit those that have various kinds of radios and information hyperlinks to have the ability to talk with one another that in any other case wouldn’t be capable of,” Lt. Col. Scott Sevigny, commander of the 18th ACCS, stated in a press launch.

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An E-11A BACN, Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, arrived on April 24, 2023, at Robins Air Drive Base, Georgia. U.S. Air Drive picture by Joseph Mather.

Up to now, the E-11A has been described as having the identical perform as a low-earth orbit satellite tv for pc or as “Wi-Fi within the sky.” The jet flew hundreds of hours over the Center East whereas assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Digital Communications Squadron. One of many Air Drive’s E-11As crashed in Afghanistan in 2020, killing the 2 pilots.

The activation of the 18th ACCS helps the Air Drive “set up a extra conventional mannequin with one house station squadron and a deployed squadron,” in accordance with a January press launch. That might imply a formalized coaching course of for E-11A pilots, versus pulling aviators from all around the Air Drive to fly the jets within the 430th EECS.

“We have to get to the purpose the place we now have established coaching packages right here at Robins and finally begin deploying our squadron’s personnel and BACN’s capabilities to wherever the Air Drive wants us to go,” Sevigny stated on the squadron’s activation. “It will likely be a gradual course of as we carry in additional individuals, plane, and methods.”

BACN methods are additionally fitted to some RQ-4 unmanned aerial methods, however the Air Drive plans to retire the drone.

The 18th ACCS is a geographically separated part of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing at Grand Forks Air Drive Base, N.D. The E-11A is one in all 4 new missions coming to Robins, the opposite three being a Battle Administration Management squadron, a Spectrum Warfare group and the Superior Battle Administration Household of Techniques.

The missions are supposed to assist the broader U.S. navy have an edge over peer adversaries in a possible battle, stated Robins set up commander Col. Lindsay Droz. They’ll additionally assist guarantee the bottom’s future because the Air Drive appears to be like to do away with all its E-8s within the close to future.

“We’re heading into a brand new period that can arrange our warfighters for fulfillment towards adversaries,” Droz stated in an announcement. “BACN’s arrival at Robins is just the start of many different mission milestones coming to this set up, which can support our nationwide protection efforts in a peer-to-peer surroundings.”