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Compass Call welcomes first Block 35 aircraft

The new Block 35 EC-130H aircraft is ferried in during a welcoming formation. Within the next five years, every EC-130H will have the Block 35 advanced technology installed, enhancing the Compass Call Mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Shelly A. McGuire)

The new Block 35 EC-130H aircraft is ferried in during a welcoming formation. Within the next five years, every EC-130H will have the Block 35 advanced technology installed, enhancing the Compass Call Mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Shelly A. McGuire)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 55th Electronic Combat Group welcomed its first Block 35 EC-130H aircraft to Davis-Monthan July 27 -- another step in securing the Air Force's superiority in electronic warfare and premier advanced avionics.

The current EC-130H fleet is composed of the Block 20 and Block 30 baseline configuration and is in the process of integrating the new state-of-the-art Block 35 upgrades, allowing Compass Call to more effectively perform its mission.

"We have transformed from being the world's best airborne communications jammer, to the world's best airborne communications 'and' radar jammer," said Col. Donald J. Bacon, 55th ECG commander. "We now have the expanded capability to hit more 21st century targets, which will significantly allow the U.S. Air Force not only to maintain its airspace superiority, but to now have cyberspace superiority."

Lt. Col. Russ R. Owen, 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron assistant director of operations said, "We are now faced with adversaries and potential adversaries that use the latest communication technologies. Block 35 allows us the flexibility and capability to counter the current and emerging target systems."

"The counter-radar capability provides us a new realm of possibilities, as this is a new mission for us. The modernization of Compass Call, as delivered in Block 35, is easier to support logistically and incorporates more elements of the cutting-edge computer technology that is now available," he said.

The Compass Call mission is to integrate into tactical air operations at any level. The versatile and flexible nature of the aircraft and its crew was already effective in enabling the power of electronic combat to be brought to bear in virtually any combat situation and now the Block 35 allows for even greater capabilities.

"The upgrade brings increased radio connectivity and increased situation awareness," said Maj. Benjamin J. Tabor, 43rd ECS Block 35 mission crew commander. "The aircraft missions systems operate more efficiently than the Block 20/30 versions and the new capabilities allow us to more effectively deny, degrade and disrupt enemy command and control networks in support of military objectives," he said.

Within the next five years, every EC-130H will have the Block 35 advanced technology installed, allowing Compass Call to continue saving lives.

"With Block 35, the words 'Compass Call' and 'Electronic Attack' will remain synonymous for many years to come," Col. Bacon said.