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The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, a suite of information-relaying equipment carried on a small fleet of E-11A jets and EQ-4B Global Hawks, surpassed 50,000 total flight hours of use, according to a release. The Air Force reached this milestone with the mixed fleet on Aug. 11, states the Aug. 19 release. BACN enables ground and air assets to share imagery, video, voice, and data communications reliably even though they may be operating on different networks and beyond each other's line of sight. The system has been supporting combat operations in Afghanistan since 2008, according to the release. "We constantly get feedback from theater telling us how important BACN is," said Maj. William Holl, BACN program manager at Hanscom AFB, Mass. "Without BACN, ground forces in Afghanistan would have to rely on much slower satellite communications—and a few seconds can make all the difference when you are under fire," he said. (Hanscom report by Patty Welsh) (See also New Squadron Stands Up at Kandahar.)