319th Reconnaissance Wing to field E-11 mission at Robins

By United States Air Force | June 30, 2021

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D – The Air Force announced plans recently that the 319th Reconnaissance Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, will now provide command and control support for the Air Force’s E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node aircraft mission.

Under the proposed plan, which is contingent on Congressional approval of the retirement of four E-8 JSTARS aircraft at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, an E-11 squadron at Robins AFB would be a geographically separated unit (GSU) reporting to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing.

"We're excited to bring the E-11 BACN mission into the 319th's portfolio of world-class Airmen and assets," said Col. Timothy Curry, commander of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. "The E-11 brings strategic capability and advantages for the Joint Force which is the mission of the 319th RW!”

As part its fiscal year 2020 budget request, the Air Force requested to begin retiring four E-8 aircraft next year, which would make way for new E-11 BACN mission at Robins. 

E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node aircraft and a squadron of active duty personnel will enable communications support to the joint force on the modern battlefield. 

Pending the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act with provisions for JSTARS retirement, the E-11 mission is expected to stand up next year. 

The Air Force already possesses three E-11 aircraft, and will continue to take delivery until the full fleet inventory is achieved.

Nine E-11 Battlefield Airborne Control Node (BACN) aircraft and a squadron of approximately 290 active duty personnel will execute a mission with a very high ops tempo, enabling communications support to the joint force on the modern battlefield.

“As the Air Force looks to the future, we expect to be challenged around the world by China and Russia,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth. “Those threats require new solutions, which means divesting legacy platforms like the JSTARS.  However, our intent is to capitalize on the existing expertise at Team Robins as we bring on these new missions. These missions will play a vital role in how we achieve decision superiority across all domains.”