The Department of Defense awarded Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) Space and Missile Systems division $89.4 million Tuesday in the form of a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification.

Northrop will be asked to provide operational and logistics support for Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payloads aboard piloted aircraft and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles in San Diego and at other locations where the aircraft are currently deployed.

The BACN is a plane-borne communications system used to link up small ground units operating in mountainous terrain where line-of-sight communications are difficult to establish. Essentially, flying over the area of operations, BACN operates as a rapidly deployable, locally operating, sky-level "satellite" communications system for troops on the ground.

Northrop's work on this contract is expected to be complete by June 22, 2014.