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BACN Sustainment Sealed: Northrop Grumman won a $48 million contract to sustain the Air Force's E-11A Global Express jets that carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node payload, according to Air Force Material Command officials. The firm fixed-price contract covers one year's support, with extension options for sustainment out to 2018, they said in a Nov. 20 release. If exercised, the options would bring the contract's total value to $260 million, they said. "We had a full and open competition, which allowed us to make sure we got the best value," said Maj. Bill Holl, manager of the BACN joint urgent operational need program at Hanscom AFB, Mass. Most of the sustainment work will take place in Afghanistan, and the contract "ensures the E-11A aircraft are maintained in the most effective and efficient manner," added Holl. The Air Force currently has a fleet of four E-11As that links and relays tactical communications of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The service also operates three BACN-equipped EQ-4B Global Hawk remotely piloted airplanes in this role. (Hanscom report by Patty Welsh)