Following the Compass Call

The Air Force is considering transplanting some of the EC-130H Compass Call’s electronic attack suite to its JSTARS’ replacement aircraft to offset fleet cuts, Air Staff plans and programs chief Lt. Gen. James Holmes told lawmakers Thursday. Depending on how JSTARS replacement unfolds “we think it might offer some options for re-hosting of the EC-130 electronics,” Holmes said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces panel. Even though Compass Calls are combat-deployed in both Afghanistan and the Middle East, budget pressure is forcing the service to divest half of its 14-strong fleet in Fiscal 2016. “The divesture incurs and accepts” that Compass Call will not be able to support future contingency operations beyond “the currently tasked operations,” Holmes admitted. To mitigate this, the service “will continue to investigate alternatives” to supplement and rebuild the EC-130s electronic attack capability, he said. All EC-130Hs are currently assigned to the 55th Electronic Combat Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. (Holmes prepared testimony)