Nobody jams like the 41st ECS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
As an Air Force, it's our mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. In order to complete that mission, we need to keep planes in the air. Helping achieve that goal by providing electronic attacks on the enemy is the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron.

"The 41st ECS has been around since 1981 and is the only aircraft in the Air Force inventory that provides electronic attack capabilities," said Lt. Col. Phil Acquaro, 41st ECS director of operations. "We have 14 EC-130H aircrafts that we use. Along with the aircrafts, we have pilots, navigators, flight engineers, airborne maintenance technicians, linguists, signal specialists and electronic warfare officers."

The squadron doesn't operate by themselves. Supporting them in their mission is the 42nd ECS which is a flight training unit; 755th Operations Support Squadron which, as the name suggests, supports their operations; and the equipment is maintained by the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The 41st ECS is a tenant unit and relies heavily on the Desert Lightning Team to help them complete their missions.

"It's a crew of 13 individuals at a time that perform electronic attack missions or as we like to say, deliver electronic fires, to suppress enemy air defenses or support the guys on the ground," Acquaro said.

Because their mission is so unique, 36 to 40 percent of their squadron is deployed at all times, Acquaro said. This also includes their linguists, which are deployed nine months at a time in support of Task Force Torch and Project Liberty, two high-priority intelligence missions. Even the EC-130Hs are in constant rotation.

"Out of the 14 EC-130Hs we use, three of them are constantly deployed," Acquaro said. "The other aircrafts are always in the process of being upgraded. There's something called Moore's Law, which means that every seven years, technology doubles. Our job is to try and keep up with the technology."

Although the 41st ECS mission can be taxing with the constant demand of deployments and training, Acquaro finds the challenge to be unique and rewarding.

"This is the only electronic attack platform in the Air Force and there's only two in the world that do this kind of mission," Acquaro said. "Being able to deliver those electronic fires across the spectrum of different operations is exciting. When troops are coming back to base and they say, 'Because of you, we weren't attacked today,' that's a powerful feeling. It's very rewarding to know that we're making an impact in the operations downrange."