In a leap forward for US defence and deterrence, BAE Systems and L3Harris Technologies have unveiled the inaugural EC-37B Compass Call aircraft delivery to the US Air Force. 

This advanced airborne electromagnetic attack system, the first of ten, represents a shift in the Air Force’s 40-year mission of employing electromagnetic attack (EA) capabilities to support US and coalition air, surface, and special operations forces.

The first EC-37B Compass Call aircraft, now in the hands of the US Air Force for formal combined developmental and operational testing, signifies a paradigm shift in electromagnetic warfare capabilities.

As the mission system prime, BAE Systems plays a role in this achievement. The Compass Call Airborne Electromagnetic Attack mission system, crafted at its Hudson, New Hampshire facility, possesses the power to disrupt enemy communications, radars, and navigation systems. 

It achieves this by suppressing enemy air defenses preventing the transmission of information between adversaries, weapon systems, and command-and-control networks.

Complementing BAE Systems’ contributions, L3Harris Technologies takes the lead as the platform integration prime. The EC-130H Compass Call mission system has transformed, becoming a part of a modern Gulfstream G550 business jet at L3Harris’s Waco, Texas, aircraft missionisation center. 

The EC-37B now boasts increased speed, endurance, and high-altitude capabilities, thus enhancing survivability and extending its range to deliver electromagnetic attack effects.

Dave Harrold, vice president and general manager of countermeasure electromagnetic attack at BAE Systems, expressed pride in delivering this EW capability, stating, “The delivery of the first EC-37B Compass Call is a major milestone for our customer’s electromagnetic attack capabilities. We take pride in delivering this critical EW capability to keep the US at the vanguard for defence and deterrence.”

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033” report, the ISR aircraft market is valued at a cumulative investment of $78.6bn, with North America taking up 22% of the market. In North America, the ongoing procurement of EC-37B Compass Call and E-2D by the US will account for a major share of the North American market.

Jason Lambert, president of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance at L3Harris, emphasised the challenge of migrating the Compass Call mission equipment from the larger EC-130H into the Gulfstream G550 platform. Lambert stated, “As the Air Force sunsets its 40-year-old EC-130H fleet, the cutting-edge EC-37B will empower the customer to continue serving its vital electromagnetic warfare mission for generations to come.”

This achievement represents a significant step forward in military capabilities and heralds a new era in electromagnetic warfare as the EC-37B Compass Call aircraft’s delivery is celebrated.