55 ECG Welcomes Next Generation Electronic Attack Capability
By Captain Courtney Barnett, 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron
/ Published February 21, 2014
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 55th Electronic Combat Group successfully received their first Baseline-2 modified EC-130H Compass Call aircraft here, Feb. 20.
This latest modification marks a significant milestone in the aircraft's thirty-one year history and expands the Department of Defense electronic warfare capability portfolio.
Since its first combat mission in 1989, as part of Operation Just Cause, to present day missions flown in support of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan, Compass Call has provided the premier counter-communications electronic attack capability.
Continuously deployed since 2002, the 55 ECG recently eclipsed 10,400 combat sorties and 64,200 flight hours, providing U.S. and Coalition forces and Joint Commanders a flexible advantage across the spectrum of conflict.
Compass Call's adaptability is directly attributed to its spiral upgrade acquisition strategy guided by the Big Safari Program office and Air Force Material Command's 661st Aeronautical Systems Squadron based in Waco, Texas. Combined efforts between these agencies ensure the EC-130H can counter new, emergent communication technology.
"One of the significant advantages of our program is that through our spiral upgrade process, Baseline-2 provides cutting edge technologies and the ability to be innovative as we support operations in the air, land, maritime, space and cyberspace domains," said Col. Marty Reynolds, Commander of the 55 ECG.
Reynolds also explained the delivery of Baseline-2 provides the DoD with the equivalent of a "fifth generation electronic attack capability."
The majority of the improvements found in the EC-130H Compass Call Baseline-2 are classified modifications to the mission system that enhance precision and increase attack capacity.
Additionally, the system was re-designed to expand the "plug-and-play" Quick Reaction Capability aspect, which has historically allowed the program to counter unique "one-off" high profile threats. Aircraft communication capabilities are improved with expansion of satellite communications connectivity compatible with emerging DoD architectures, increased multi-asset coordination nets and upgraded data-link terminals.
Furthermore, modifications to the airframe in Baseline-2 provide improved aircraft performance and survivability.
Combining these modifications enhance the EC-130H Compass Call's multi-role capabilities as an electronic attack platform.
As the DoD adjusts to a smaller, more capable force to counter complex Anti-Access/Area-Denial environments as well as sustaining ongoing Irregular Warfare operations, aircraft and innovative Airmen are the key to future success.
With the delivery of the EC-130H Compass Call Baseline-2, the men and women of the 55th Electronic Combat Group are equipped and ready to meet these future challenges.