Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call
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Information on the EC-130H Compass Call
The EC-130H Compass Call is an airborne tactical weapon system using a heavily modified version of the C-130 Hercules airframe. The system disrupts enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. The Compass Call system employs the offensive counterinformation and electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and Coalition tactical air, surface, and special operations forces. Programmed upgrades will expand its mission by procuring a secondary EA capability against early warning and acquisition radars.
The EC-130H aircraft carries a combat crew of 13 people. Four members are responsible for aircraft flight and navigation (aircraft commander, co-pilot, navigator and flight engineer), while nine members operate and employ the EA mission equipment permanently integrated in the cargo/mission compartment. The mission crew includes the mission crew commander (electronic warfare officer), weapon system officer (electronic warfare officer), mission crew supervisor (an experienced cryptologic linguist), four analysis operators (linguists), one acquisition operator and an airborne maintenance technician
The EC-130H fleet is composed of a mix of Block 20, Block 30 and state-of-the-art Block 35 aircraft which are in test or production. All aircraft will transition to the Block 35 baseline configuration by fiscal 2011.
For Block 30 EC-130H, the upgrade achieved a major redesign of the mission compartment and operating system software of the Block 20 aircraft. Its primary focus was to provide a reprogrammable capability against target C2 systems.
For Block 35 EC-130H, the upgrade provides the Air Force with additional capabilities to jam communication, Early Warning/Acquisition radar and navigation systems through higher effective radiated power, extended frequency range and insertion of digital signal processing. The Block 35 will have the flexibility to keep pace with adversary use of technology. It is highly reconfigurable and permits incorporation of clip-ins with less crew impact. It promotes enhanced crew proficiency, maintenance and sustainment with a common fleet configuration, new operator interface, increased reliability and better fault detection.
Compass Call integrates into tactical air operations at any level. The versatile and flexible nature of the aircraft and its crew enable the power of electronic combat to be brought to bear in virtually any combat situation.
Airborne electronic warfare consists of three major players forming a triad of capability. The EC-130H Compass Call, the EA-6B Prowler and F-16CJ Fighting Falcons suppress of enemy air defenses while jamming communications, radar and command and control targets. Compass Call is in demand with all unified commands, and therefore, subject to worldwide deployment in support of operations on very short notice.
Compass Call has demonstrated a powerful effect on enemy command and control networks in multiple military operations including Kosovo, Haiti, Panama, Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan.
All Compass Call aircraft are assigned to Air Combat Command. The EC-130H Compass Call is operated by the 55 Electronic Combat Group (41st and 43d Electronic Combat Squadrons) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
Although located at Davis-Monthan, the group reports to the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb.
Primary Function: Electronic warfare, suppression of enemy air defenses and offensive counter information
Prime Contractors: BAE Systems (prime mission equipment), and L3 Communications (aircraft integration and depot maintenance).
Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops
Thrust: 4,591 prop shaft horsepower
Length: 97 feet, 9 inches (29.3 meters)
Height: 38 feet, 3 inches (11.4 meters)
Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (39.7 meters)
Speed: 300 mph (Mach 0.52) at 20,000 feet (6,060 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
Mission Flight Crew: Thirteen (two pilots, navigator, flight engineer, electronic warfare officer, mission crew supervisor, four crypto logic linguists, high band operator, acquisition operator and an airborne maintenance technician.)
Unit Cost: $65 million
Date Deployed: April 1982
Inventory: Active force: 14; ANG: 0; Reserve: 0
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