Lockheed EC-130H Compass Call

A U.S. Air Force EC-130H Compass Call parks on the runway at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Feb. 28, 2022. The Compass Call program celebrated 40 years of service in October 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alex Miller)

The EC-130H Compass Call is an American airborne tactical weapon system using a heavily modified version of the C-130 Hercules airframe. It is based at Davis-Monthan AFB. The system attempts to disrupt enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. Compass Call's offensive counter-information and electronic attack capabilities are used to support U.S. and allied tactical air, surface, and special operations forces. Programmed upgrades will give a secondary Electronic Attack (EA) capability against early warning and acquisition radars.

U.S. airborne electronic warfare consists of three main elements: the EC-130H Compass Call, the EA-18 Growler, and the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon suppress enemy air defenses while jamming communications, radar and command and control targets. Compass Call can be deployed worldwide at short notice.

Role Electronic warfare (EW), Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), offensive counter-information
Manufacturer Lockheed (airframe)
BAE Systems (prime mission equipment)
L3 Communications (aircraft integration and depot maintenance)
Introduction April 1982
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 14 (USAF)
Unit cost $165 million



The EC-130H aircraft carries a combat crew of thirteen people. Four members are responsible for aircraft flight and navigation (aircraft commander, co-pilot, navigator and flight engineer), while nine members operate and employ the EA mission equipment permanently integrated in the cargo/mission compartment. The mission crew includes the mission crew commander (electronic warfare officer), weapon system officer (electronic warfare officer), mission crew supervisor (an experienced cryptologic linguist), four analysis operators (linguists), one acquisition operator and an airborne maintenance technician.


United States Air Force

  • Air Combat Command (Langley Air Force Base, Virginia)
    • 55th Wing (Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska)
      • 55th Electronic Combat Group (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona)
        • 41st Electronic Combat Squadron
        • 42d Electronic Combat Squadron
        • 43d Electronic Combat Squadron

Specifications (EC-130H)

Data from {Air Force Link: EC-130H Compass Call}

General characteristics

  • Crew: 13
  • Length: 97 ft, 9 in (29.3 m)
  • Wingspan: 132 ft, 7 in (39.7 m)
  • Height: 38 ft, 3 in (11.4 m)
  • Empty weight: 101,000 lb (45,813 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 155,000 lb (69,750 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-15 turboprop, 4,591 hp (kW) each


  • Never exceed speed: Redacted
  • Maximum speed: Redacted
  • Cruise speed: 300 mph, mach 0.52
  • Stall speed: Redacted
  • Range: 2,295 nm (mi, 3,694 km)
  • Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: Redacted
  • Wing loading: Redacted
  • Power/mass: Redacted


The information contained on this page is unclassified, approved for public dissemination and is released under CC-BY-SA Licensing Agreement.