Grand Forks AFB to control communications planes

State News

An E-11 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node sits on the flightline at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan, Aug. 1, 2017. The E-11 BACN is a vital airborne signal relay, enabling real-time communications between friendly forces in the air and on the ground. There are only four E-11 aircraft in the Air Force and they operate around the clock, 24/7, ensuring Air Force and coalition operators can communicate when needed.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The Grand Forks Air Force base is preparing to handle command and control support for aircraft designed to handle real-time communication in various conditions.

The proposed plan would have the Air Force’s E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node aircraft mission at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia report to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing in Grand Forks.

The assignment is contingent on congressional approval on the retirement of E-8 aircraft at Robins and is likely to begin next year.

The E-11 aircraft and a squadron of active duty personnel will enable communications support to the joint force on the battlefield.

The Air Force currently has three E-11 aircraft and should eventually have a full fleet of nine planes.

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