USAF's EC-130H Compass Call EW aircraft receives avionic upgrade

World Aviation Defense & Security News - United States
USAF's EC-130H Compass Call EW aircraft receives avionic upgrade
Since it became operational, the USAF's 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, the USAF announced on August 2.
USAF EC 130H Compass Call EW aircraft receives avionic upgrade 640 001 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
(Courtesy picture)
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.

USAF EC 130H Compass Call EW aircraft receives avionic upgrade 640 002 A preflight inspection is performed on an EC-130H Compass Call during Exercise BUSHWACKER 14-02 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Aug. 26, 2014
(Credit: USAF/Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)
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.

The EC-130H Compass Call is one of the four main elements of the U.S. airborne electronic warfare with the Boeing EA-18 Growler, Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler, and the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon.

According to the USAF fact sheet, 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.