An EC-130H Compass Call flies a training mission over Lake Mead, Ariz. Compass Call is the designation for a modified version of the C-130 Hercules aircraft configured to perform tactical command, control and communications countermeasures. Specifically, the modified aircraft uses noise jamming to prevent communication or degrade the transfer of information essential to command and control of weapon systems and other resources. Modifications to the aircraft include an electronic countermeasures system, air refueling capability and associated navigation and communications systems. (U.S. Air Force photo)
FILE PHOTO -- Compass Call is the designation for a modified version of Lockheed corporation's EC-130H Hercules aircraft configured to perform tactical command, control and communications countermeasures. Specifically, the modified aircraft uses noise jamming to prevent communication or degrade the transfer of information essential to command and control of weapon systems and other resources. It primarily supports tactical air operations but also can provide jamming support to ground force operations. Modifications to the aircraft include an electronic countermeasures system, air refueling capability and associated navigation and communications systems. (U.S. Air Force Photo)
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- An EC-130H Compass Call, assigned to the 398th Air Expeditionary Group, takes off from a forward deployed operating base located in the Mediterranean region in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Iraqi Freedom is the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and end the regime of Saddam Hussein. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Robert J. Horstman)
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. - An Air Combat Command Compass Call aircraft was on display here March 31. The aircraft is a C-130 Hercules modified and configured to perform tactical information warfare. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bobby Jones)
Maintainers at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, stand by as the aircrew starts the engines on an EC-130H Compass Call's. The aircraft is assigned to the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron. The Compass Call is an airborne tactical weapon system used to deny, degrade and disrupt the enemy's ability to communicate. Since April 2004, 41st EECS EC-130s have flown more than 700 combat sorties supporting ground forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. James H. Cunningham)
Mission 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 or EA 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.
Features 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 has achieved initial operational capability. All aircraft will transition to the Block 35 baseline configuration by fiscal 2011.
The Block 30 EC-130H 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.
The Block 35 EC-130H 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. Block 35s 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.
The 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, EA-6B Prowler and F-16CJ Fighting Falcons suppress 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.
The Compass Call was delivered to the Air Force in 1982, and had its first flight in 1981. The aircraft 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, 42nd 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.
General Characteristics Primary Function: Electronic warfare, suppression of enemy air defenses and offensive counter information Contractors: BAE Systems (prime mission equipment), and L3 Communications (aircraft integration and depot maintenance) Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops Thrust: 4,910 prop shaft horsepower Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (39.7 meters)
Length: 97 feet, 9 inches (29.3 meters) Height: 38 feet, 3 inches (11.4 meters) Weight: 101,000 pounds (45,813 kilograms) Maximum Takeoff Weight: 155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms) Fuel capacity: 62,000 pounds (28,182 kilograms) Speed: 300 mph (Mach 0.52) at 20,000 feet (6,060 meters) Range: 2,295 miles (3,694 kilometers) Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7.6 kilometers) Armament: non-kinetic energy waveforms Crew: Thirteen (two pilots, navigator, flight engineer, two electronic warfare officers, mission crew supervisor, four crypto logic linguists, acquisition operator and an airborne maintenance technician) Unit Cost: $65 million Initial operating capability: 1983 Inventory: Active force: 14; ANG: 0; Reserve: 0
Point of Contact Air Combat Command, Public Affairs Office; 130 Andrews St., Suite 202; Langley AFB, VA 23665-1987; DSN 574-5007 or 757-764-5007.