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Compass Call receives navigation upgrade

U.S. Airmen from the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron perform pre-flight checks in an EC-130H Compass Call before executing its first training mission with an upgraded cockpit acquired via an avionic viability program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 11, 2016. The 42nd ECS’s Compass Calls were the first to be upgraded in an Air Force-wide plan to update its entire fleet of EC-130s via the AVP. (Courtesy photo/Released)

Airmen from the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron perform preflight checks in an EC-130H Compass Call before executing its first training mission with an upgraded cockpit acquired via an avionic viability program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 11, 2016. The 42nd ECS’s Compass Calls were the first to be upgraded in an Air Force-wide plan to update its entire fleet of EC-130s with the AVP. (Courtesy photo)

An EC-130H Compass Call prepares to take off to execute the first training mission with an upgraded cockpit acquired via the avionic viability program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 11, 2016. Since it became operational in 1983, the EC-130H Compass Call has demonstrated its electronic combat power in tactical air operations around the world. (Courtesy Photo/Released)

An EC-130H Compass Call prepares to take off to execute the first training mission with an upgraded cockpit acquired via the avionic viability program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 11, 2016. Since it became operational in 1983, the EC-130H has demonstrated its electronic combat power in tactical air operations around the world. (Courtesy photo)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- Since it became operational, the EC-130H Compass Call has demonstrated its electronic combat power in tactical air operations around the world, and this year the aircraft has achieved another first.

The aircraft has received an avionic viability program upgrade to make it more effective in combat and while maintaining compliance with federal and international aviation regulations.

“This program has been in the works for almost three years at a cost of about $45 million,” said Maj. Gerardo Sanchez, the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron assistant director of operations. “Currently, we have two aircraft here at (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base) with the 55th (Electronic Combat Group), and we have two more scheduled for delivery.”

The upgrade revitalizes the cockpit with liquid crystal displays that consolidate vital flight information.

“With the new upgrades, we can grab the information with the push of a button,” Sanchez said. “It increases the pilot’s situational awareness tenfold.”

The entire EC-130 fleet is expected to become upgraded via the AVP.

“With this new AVP modernization program of the EC-130 fleet, we are more capable with precision navigation,” Sanchez said. “With the new radar upgrades, the EC-130H has improved navigation performance in order to sharpen tactics, techniques and procedures for precision electronic attack.”

The 55th ECG has set up a training plan led by approximately 20 members who have been trained as cadre to familiarize personnel with the new system. AVP training for all flight deck personnel is projected to be completed in March 2017.