Video by Senior Airman Robert Harnden 2nd Combat Camera SquadronMembers of the 191st Air Refueling Squadron, 151st Air Refueling Wing, from the Utah Air National Guard maintain proficiency. The crew members of the KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, from the Ohio Air National Guard, refuel an EC-130H Compass Call aircraft of the 755th Operational Support Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
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.
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.
Primary Function: Electronic warfare, suppression of enemy air defenses and offensive counter information
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