Planners of Bin Laden raid relied on long-range comms node

BACN enabled real-time information exchanges between dissimilar tactical data link systems

The Defense Department was able to draw on sophisticated capabilities involving long-range communications and intelligence planning in the run up to the assault on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, reports David Fulghum in Aviation Week's Ares Blog.

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency worked closely with the assault team to determine the best approach route and assess and determine terrain, flight routes, acoustic modeling to muffle the helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles that would be used in the raid and also determine the best landing zones, NGA Director Letitia Long said Aug. 31 at a Women in Defense meeting held in Washington, D.C.

Crucial to the successful planning were two Block 20 Global Hawk UAVs, both outfitted with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, that were based in Afghanistan and enabled real-time information exchanges between dissimilar tactical data link systems to put critical information into the hands of decision-makers who helped plan and coordinate the raid.

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