Airborne Gateway™

Airborne Gateway 

Military forces need more than the best platforms and skilled operators to prevail. They must be able to communicate across the spectrum, sharing the information and knowledge necessary for decisive advantage.

Although advanced and impressive most military platforms are not interoperable. Systems that did not have the requirement to interoperate when acquired now must operate in the same battlespace.

They need an Airborne Gateway™ that allows multiple systems to talk with one another.

Northrop Grumman is the leader in developing Airborne Gateways that enhance interoperability, situational awareness, communications and coordination for warfighters in the air and on the ground. Our gateways translate and distribute imagery, video, voice communications and data from various sources and otherwise incompatible datalink systems and give defense forces the ability to share information across diverse platforms and domains.

Northrop Grumman’s combat-proven Airborne Gateway technology can be integrated on manned and unmanned platforms, pods and mobile ground locations to deliver discriminating fifth-generation capabilities for a truly integrated joint future force.

Northrop Grumman developed the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) a high-altitude, airborne communications gateway for the U.S. Air Force. The company is prime contractor for the development, fielding and maintenance of the BACN combined platform and payload system since 2005 in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

The USAF’s BACN solution provides 24/7 persistent communications with more than 130,000 combat mission hours to its credit as of mid-2017. BACN can also act as a high-altitude relay and has been used for missions such as airdrop and airstrike operations.

Other key Airborne Gateway products and programs include the Smart Node Pod, a mid-tier aerial networking pod designed for the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles and the Freedom 550™ gateway radio terminal that performs as a communications relay among fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft.

There is significant international interest in Airborne Gateways.  Northrop Grumman completed a successful contract in Australia on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), demonstrating the Airborne Gateway’s powerful effects of integrated cross-service air-land operations during Exercise Jericho Dawn 16-3. In the UK, together with the Royal Air Force, Northrop Grumman demonstrated it could bridge the fifth-to-fourth generation platform interoperability gap by including a company-developed Freedom 550™ software-defined radio in the Airborne Gateway.


Exercise Jericho Dawn