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BACN, not Sausage: At Nellis AFB, Nev., a NASA WB-57 flying at 60,000 feet is aiding JEFX 2006 by carrying a payload that will link tactical data and communication systems. The program manager for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), 1st Lt. Brad Powell, told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday that the aircraft employs cellular and tactical voice communications, serving as a relay and bridge between the two mediums. Powell explained that BACN could enable, for instance, an A-10 pilot with a HAVE QUICK radio to communicate with cellular-equipped special operators to nail down close air support targeting information. BACN is an Internet protocol-based airborne communications relay and information server, storing data and enabling data-sharing while providing situational awareness by making sense of both tactical and strategic air pictures. Should everything proceed according to plan, Powell said the program would be operational by July 2008. Two engineering demonstration models currently are prepared for further testing.