The United States Air Force’s (USAF) Lockheed Martin EC-130H COMPASS CALL electronic warfare platforms could benefit from the US government’s 2018 defence budget.
Legislation concerning the budget, which is currently working its way through the US Congress, includes a request to continue funding the USAF’s 55th Electronic Combat Group, comprising the 41st and 43rd Electronic Combat Squadrons, both of which are thought to operate a total of 14 examples of the aircraft. The EC-130H is tasked with detecting and jamming hostile radio communications. It has been reported that the fleet has performed a near-continuous deployment to the Middle East since 2002 working to target hostile communications; most recently being used to detect and jam the radio and cellular communications of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria during US-led combat operations in these two countries.
Reports have continued that Arabic linguists have supported these operations as part of the EC-130H aircrew complement. Under current USAF plans, the EC-130H is expected to be replaced next decade with a Gulfstream G-550 business jet platform equipped with similar jamming equipment to the EC-130H as part of an initiative being led by L3 Communications.