EC-130H Compass Call electronic attack aircraft recently surpassed 40,000 combat flying hours over 13 years of continuous deployment supporting US and allied forces in Afghanistan. “The EC-130 is the only airborne electronic attack asset not only in Afghanistan, but also the Air Force,” 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Karl Weinbrecht said in a Sept. 11 release. “Without the EC-130H capability, you lose a lot of the things special operations forces and other tactical units have come to rely on,” he added. The EC-130Hs, deployed from Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz., have flown some 6,900 combat sorties since 2002, eavesdropping on insurgent chatter, collecting battlefield intelligence, and jamming tactical communications. “We make it easier for our forces to do their job; we give them the security of knowing that what we’re doing is making it safer for them to do their operations,” Compass Call Crew Supervisor SSgt. Scott Berry said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.