BAE Systems has begun work, for the U.S. Air Force, to transition its advanced Compass Call electronic warfare (EW) system from aging EC-130H aircraft onto Gulfstream G550-based EC-37B special-mission aircraft.
This Cross Deck initiative, as it is commonly called, will enable the Air Force to continue disrupting enemy command and control capabilities in denied environments well into the future from a modern, more capable platform that will significantly improve mission effectiveness.
As the mission system integrator for the program, BAE Systems is working with L3 Technologies to transition the Compass Call capabilities onto an EC-37B aircraft that meets Air Force requirements. The EC-37B platform has structural modification similar to the Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (CAEW) developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
This new platform will provide combatant commanders with improved stand-off jamming capability and flexibility to counter sophisticated communications and radar threats. It will support Compass Call capabilities that are required in multiple mission plans to support operation in anti-access/ area denial and irregular warfare environments. By integrating mature electronics onto a state-of-the-art aircraft, the total weapon system provides pilots and operators with the utmost confidence.
“The Compass Call mission electronics are world-class EW systems that are in high demand from operational commanders because of their electronic attack capabilities and their ability to protect critical missions,” said Pamela Potter, director of Electronic Attack Solutions at BAE Systems. “The cross-decking program enables the Air Force to maintain existing, unmatched EW mission capabilities in an economical business jet that can fly faster, higher, and farther than its predecessor, improving mission effectiveness and survivability.”
In 2017, BAE Systems and its partners completed the initial design review of the Compass Call weapon system, and the final design review is planned for this fall. Initial modifications of the first G550 are underway, with the first two aircraft fielded in 2023. A total of 10 new aircraft are planned.
BAE Systems will continue to sustain the electronics for the fleet of EC-130H Compass Call aircraft while it develops, procures, manufactures, and integrates electronics for the new fleet.