Mmm… BACN

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node. Sort of like a super-router in the sky for various datalink equipped jets to talk to one another.

I’d heard of the program before, but never paid much attention to it.

And I’d long known of the WB-57F program. Modified Martin B-57s with enormous new wings and engines, they had an altitude capability almost as great as the U-2. The WB-57Fs were “weather reconnaissance” aircraft, notionally. But their real purpose was airborne sampling to detect and analyze nuclear contaminants to glean information on the Soviet nuclear weapons testing program.

Well, the BACN really needs to be operated at as high an altitude as feasible, and for as long as possible. That’s why some are deployed on RQ-4 Global Hawks. Others are mounted on modified regional jets as the E-11A. And two old WB-57Fs were pulled out of storage and placed into operation.

WB-57F

 

I just like that pic of the old Canberra.

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