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Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call

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Title: Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call  
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Subject: Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Lockheed Martin KC-130, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, Lockheed HC-130, Lockheed AC-130
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Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call

EC-130H Compass Call
An EC-130H Compass Call flies a training mission over Lake Mead, Arizona.
Role Electronic warfare (EW), Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), offensive counter-information
Manufacturer Lockheed (airframe)
BAE Systems (prime mission equipment)
L3 Communications (aircraft integration and depot maintenance)
Introduction April 1982
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 14 (USAF)
Unit cost
$165 million

The EC-130H Compass Call is an American airborne tactical weapon system using a heavily modified version of the C-130 Hercules airframe. It is based at Davis-Monthan AFB. The system attempts to disrupt enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. Compass Call's offensive counterinformation and electronic attack capabilities are used to support U.S. and allied tactical air, surface, and special operations forces. Programmed upgrades will give a secondary Electronic Attack (EA) capability against early warning and acquisition radars.

U.S. airborne electronic warfare consists of four main elements: the EC-130H Compass Call, the Boeing EA-18 Growler, Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler, and the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon suppress enemy air defenses while jamming communications, radar and command and control targets. Compass Call can be deployed worldwide at short notice.


  • Development 1
  • Design 2
    • Crew 2.1
  • Operational history 3
  • Operators 4
  • Specifications (EC-130H) 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The EC-130H fleet is composed of a mix of state-of-the-art baseline aircraft.

Compass Call 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. The Block 35 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.

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.



The EC-130H aircraft carries a combat crew of thirteen 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.[1]

Operational history

Compass Call has been used in locations including Kosovo, Haiti, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan.

From 2002 to 2015, EC-130Hs participating in Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan and Operation Freedom's Sentinel flew over 40,000 hours during 6,900 combat sorties.[2]


United States Air Force

Egyptian Air Force [3][4][5]

  • Transport Brigade Wing (ICAO: HECA))
    • 16th. EW/SEAD Squadron

Specifications (EC-130H)

Data from {Air Force Link: EC-130H Compass Call}[6]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 13
  • Length: 97 ft, 9 in (29.3 m)
  • Wingspan: 132 ft, 7 in (39.7 m)
  • Height: 38 ft, 3 in (11.4 m)
  • Wing area: ft² (m²)
  • Empty weight: 101,000 lb (45,813 kg)
  • Loaded weight: lb (kg)
  • Useful load: lb (kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 155,000 lb (69,750 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-15 turboprop, 4,591 hp (kW) each


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^
  2. ^ 41st EECS Scorpions defend the force with Compass Call -, 11 September 2015
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "EC-130H Compass Call". United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2006-01-15. 

External links

  • Air Force Link: EC-130H Compass Call factsheet
  • Air Force Link: Air Force news story (Compass Call continues to 'Jam' enemy)
  • Air Force Link: Air Force news story ('Bats' shield Airmen from harm)
  • Air Force Link: Air Force news story (Airpower supports Afghan elections)
  • EC-130H Compass Call
  • EC-130H Compass Call
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