First EC-37B Compass Call Tactical Jammer Delivered to Air Force

The aircraft is based on a Gulfstream G550 platform kitted out with electromagnetic warfare equipment.

A EC-130H stands on the tarmac beside an EC-37B electromagnetic attack mission aircraft. [Courtesy L3Harris]

The U.S. Air Force has received the first of 10 EC-37B Compass Call tactical jammer aircraft. 

The aircraft, slated to replace the C-130 Hercules-based EC-130H Compass Call tactical weapon system that’s been in service since the early 1980s, is based on a Gulfstream G550 business jet airframe. It was delivered by BAE Systems and L3Harris Technologies—the companies overseeing the production and installation of electromagnetic warfare equipment—for formal combined developmental and operational testing, BAE Systems announced Tuesday.

BAE Systems produces the Compass Call Airborne Electromagnetic Attack system, which is then integrated into the G550 platform by L3Harris in Waco, Texas. 

“Our team accomplished the incredible challenge of migrating the Compass Call mission equipment from the much larger EC-130H and fully integrating it into the Gulfstream G550 platform,” Jason Lambert, president of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at L3Harris, said in a statement. “As the Air Force sunsets its 40-year-old EC-130H fleet, the cutting-edge EC-37B will empower the customer to continue serving its vital electromagnetic warfare mission for generations to come.”

In more than three decades of operation, the EC-130H has been deployed to employ offensive counter-information and electronic attack for missions in places such as Kosovo, Haiti, Libya, Serbia, and Afghanistan. In the past decade alone, the EC-130H conducted more than 26,000 hours of electronic warfare in Iraq, according to the Air Force.

“The delivery of the first EC-37B Compass Call is a major milestone for our customer’s electromagnetic attack capabilities,” said Dave Harrold, vice president and general manager of countermeasure & electromagnetic attack at BAE Systems. “We take pride in delivering this critical EW capability to keep the U.S. at the vanguard for defense and deterrence.”

When the EC-37B enters into service, it will be based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. 

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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