The EC-130H Compass Call is an electronic attack aircraft primarily used by the United States Air Force. It is derived from the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and is massively improved to disturb and confuse enemy command and control communications, carry out counter-information offensive missions, and perform other types of electronic attacks.
In 1981, the Compass Call conducted its maiden flight and became operational in 1983. The Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call is a joint effort between Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and L3 Communications. By February 2014, the aircraft accomplished 10,400 combat missions and 64,200 flight hours. Since 2002, fourteen EC-130H were operated by the United States Air Force’s 55th Electronic Combat Group (ECG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
The airframe of the EC-130H is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and is an improved type of the C-130 Hercules. L3 Communications provided the aircraft integration and rebuilding of parts while BAE Systems supplied the prime mission equipment. The aircraft can accommodate a combat crew of thirteen; the commander, together with the co-pilot, navigator, and flight engineer is in charge of aircraft flight and navigation while the rest manage the EA mission equipment indelibly incorporated in the cargo/mission compartment.
The EC-130H fleet is composed of Block 20, Block 30, and Block 35 aircraft.
The Block 35 Baseline 1 EC-130H delivers supplementary capabilities to the Air Force to jam communications, early warning radar, and navigation systems through greater functional radiated power, stretched frequency radius, and digital signal processing. Baseline 1 aircraft can keep up with the opponent’s developing technology. It features improved crew capability, maintenance, and sustenance with a customary fleet design, up-to-date user interface, higher accuracy, and finer fault detection.
Baseline 2 features numerous improvements to simplify operator workload and enhance efficiency. Enhanced external communications enable the aircraft’s crew to sustain situational awareness and integration in powerful operational and tactical surroundings. Aircraft communications are also enhanced by expanding satellite communications connectivity incorporating DoD architectures, multi-asset coordination nets, and improved data-link terminals. Delivery of Baseline-2 brings the DoD with the correspondent of a “fifth-generation electronic attack capability”. It delivers better aircraft performance and endurance. A larger part of the enhancements in the aircraft are classified modifications to the mission system that improves accuracy and boost attack capacity.