Other airmen call them the “Bats”—they are the crews of the Air Force’s only two EC-130 Compass Call electronic combat squadrons, and they have been “continuously deployed to the [Southwest Asia area of responsibility] since spring 2004,” reports the Rock Slate newspaper. One squadron—the 41st ECS—covers Afghanistan, while the other—43rd ECS—covers Iraq. (Read more in “Evolving to Meet Today’s EW Threat.”) In 2005, the 43rd ECS responded to more than 1,500 joint tactical air strike requests to block electronic signals. So far this year, the squadron has answered more than 1,125 JTASRs.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.