Hoeven Makes the Case with Air Force Undersecretary for Manned E-11A Mission in Grand Forks

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today met with Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning to make the case for permanently basing the manned E-11A aircraft at Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) along with the Global Hawk Block 20, which is already stationed there. Both aircraft are capable of performing the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) mission.

Currently, BACN capability is deployed overseas as a temporary mission, but Fanning said he is aware that commanders in the field believe the BACN mission is an important communications capability. At some point, the Air Force will have to make BACN a permanent mission and make a decision as to where E-11A portion of the BACN mission should be stationed. Fanning agrees that Grand Forks should be considered.

“We believe this is a cost-effective solution for the Air Force because the E-11A and the Block 20 Global Hawk, which is already based in Grand Forks, work together on the battlefield communications mission,” Hoeven said. “The undersecretary agreed that collocating missions offers efficiencies and cost savings, making Grand Forks a good contender. We think this would work well for the Air Force and for Grand Forks.”

The Air Force designed BACN in response to the urgent operational needs of deployed forces overseas and provides sophisticated communications capabilities at relatively low cost, making it both important to the nation’s defense and cost-effective at a time when the military is under tremendous budget pressure.