It’s one of the lesser-known — but also one of the most important — weapons in the fight against the Islamic State: The EC-130H Compass Call, a suite of complex communication-jamming systems, stuffed into aging cargo planes that date back to the Vietnam War.But over the next dozen years, the Compass Call will get a new lease on life. By the end of 2029, the Air Force is planning to transplant the guts of its EC-130Hs into 10 new airframes, dubbed the EC-X.
And not a moment too soon. The airframes that make up the Air Force’s current fleet of 15 EC-130Hs date back decades, and they’re growing increasingly creaky. The 386th Expeditionary Wing in the Middle East, for example, has one Compass Call aircraft that dates back to 1973 and another that first flew in 1964. Read more