Since it became operational, the 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 (AVP) upgrade to make it more effective in combat and while maintaining compliance with federal and international aviation regulations.
«This program has been in the works for almost three years at a cost of about $45 million», said Major Gerardo Sanchez, the 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron assistant director of operations. «Currently, we have two aircraft here at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) with the 55th Electronic Combat Group (ECG), 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 Compass Call fleet is expected to become upgraded via the AVP.
«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.
|Primary function||electronic warfare, suppression of enemy air defenses and offensive counter information|
|Contractors||BAE Systems (prime mission equipment), and L3 Communications (aircraft integration and depot maintenance)|
|Power plant||four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops|
|Thrust||4,910 prop shaft horsepower|
|Wingspan||132 feet, 7 inches/39.7 m|
|Length||97 feet, 9 inches/29.3 m|
|Height||38 feet, 3 inches/11.4 meters|
|Weight||Block 1 – 107,000 pounds/48,534 kg|
|Block 2 – 103,000 pounds/46,720 kg|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)||155,000 pounds/69,750 kg|
|Fuel capacity||62,000 pounds/28,182 kg|
|Speed at 20,000 feet/6,060 m||261 knots/300 mph/Mach 0.52/483 km/h|
|Range||1,994 NM/2,295 miles/3,694 km|
|Ceiling||25,000 feet/7,600 m|
|Armament||non-kinetic energy waveforms|
|Crew||13 (two pilots, navigator, flight engineer, two electronic warfare officers, mission crew supervisor, four cryptologic linguists, acquisition operator and an airborne maintenance technician)|
|Unit Cost||$165 million|
|Initial Operating Capability (IOC)||1983|
|Inventory: active force||14|
After 30 plus years in service, the EC-130’s Avionics system is getting a major helping hand