Friday, April 19, 2024

U.S. Air Force receives first EC-37B Compass Call electronic warfare aircraft 

BAE Systems and L3Harris Technologies have delivered the first of ten EC-37B Compass Call aircraft to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for formal combined developmental and operational testing.

The next-generation system evolves the Air Force’s 40-year mission for using electromagnetic attack capabilities to support U.S. and coalition air, surface, and special operations forces.

Mission system prime BAE Systems produces the Compass Call Airborne Electromagnetic Attack mission system at its Hudson, New Hampshire facility. The system is designed to disrupt enemy communications, radars, and navigation systems. It also suppresses enemy air defenses by preventing the transmission of essential information between adversaries, weapon systems, and command-and-control networks.

Platform integration prime L3Harris integrated the EC-130H Compass Call mission system into a modern Gulfstream G550 business jet at its Waco, Texas, aircraft missionization center. The EC-37B has increased speed, endurance, and high-altitude operation for improved survivability and range to deliver EA effects.

The EC-37B is a significant upgrade from its predecessor. The current EC-130H carries a combat crew of 13 people. It can travel up to 300 mph (Mach 0.52) at 20,000 feet (6,060 meters), has a range of 2,295 miles (3,694 kilometers), and can reach a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet (7.6 kilometers).

On the other hand, the Gulfstream G550 business jet has a range of 6,750 nautical miles (12,500 km), a maximum cruising speed of 652 mph (Mach 0.85) at 41,000 feet (12,497 meters), and can reach maximum altitudes of 51,000 feet (16,000 meters).

“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, BAE Systems. “We take pride in delivering this critical EW capability to keep the U.S. at the vanguard for defense and deterrence.”

“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,” said Jason Lambert, President of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, L3Harris. “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.”