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The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S. Navy.
The EC-130E Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) was based on a basic C-130E platform and provided tactical airborne command post capabilities to air commanders and ground commanders in low air threat environments. The EC-130E ABCCC aircraft were retired in 2002, the mission was 'migrated' to the JSTARS and AWACS fleets.
The EC-130E Commando Solo was an earlier version of a U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard psychological operations (PSYOPS) aircraft. This aircraft also employed a C-130E airframe, but was modified by using the mission electronic equipment from the retired EC-121S Coronet Solo aircraft. This airframe served during the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the second Gulf War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and in Operation Enduring Freedom. The EC-130E was eventually replaced by the EC-130J Commando Solo and was retired in 2006.
|Role||Airborne Communications Jamming (EC-130H)
Psychological and Information Operations (EC-130J)
|Manufacturer||Lockheed Aircraft Co.
|Primary users||United States Air Force
Air National Guard
|Number built||14 EC-130H
|Unit cost||US$90 million|
|Developed from||Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
Based on a C-130H airframe, the EC-130H Compass Call is an airborne communications jamming platform operated by the Air Combat Commands (ACC) 55th Electronic Combat Group (55 ECG) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The EC-130 Compass Call aircraft attempts to disrupt enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. The Compass Call system employs offensive counter-information and electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and Coalition tactical air, surface, and special operations forces. The EC-130H was used extensively in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, disrupting Iraqi communications at both the strategic and tactical levels. It has also been used in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The EC-130J Commando Solo is a modified C-130J Hercules used to conduct psychological operations (PSYOP) and civil affairs broadcast missions in the standard AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bands. Missions are flown at the maximum altitudes possible to ensure optimum propagation patterns. The EC-130J flies during either day or night scenarios with equal success, and is air-refuelable. A typical mission consists of a single-ship orbit which is offset from the desired target audience. The targets may be either military or civilian personnel. The Commando Solo is operated exclusively by the Air National Guard, specifically the 193d Special Operations Wing (193 SOW), a unit of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard operationally gained by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The 193 AOW is based at the Harrisburg Air National Guard Base (former Olmstead AFB) at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Navy's EC-130Q Hercules TACAMO ("Take Charge and Move Out") aircraft was a land-based naval aviation platform that served as a SIOP strategic communications link aircraft for the U.S. Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarine force and as a backup communications link for the USAF manned strategic bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile forces. To ensure survivability, TACAMO operated as a solo platform, well away from and not interacting with other major naval forces such as sea-based aircraft carrier strike groups and their carrier air wings or land-based maritime patrol aircraft Operated by Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3) and Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR (VQ-4), the EC-130Q was eventually replaced by the U.S. Navy's current TACAMO platform, the Boeing 707-based E-6 Mercury.
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