BAE Systems announced on 9 July that it focusing on transitioning its advanced Compass Call EW systems to modern Gulfstream G550, an EC-37B aircraft.
The company reported that it has begun work to transition its advanced Compass Call electronic warfare (EW) system from aging EC-130H aircraft to a modern, more capable platform that will significantly improve mission effectiveness. This Cross Deck initiative, as it is commonly called, will enable the U.S. Air Force to continue disrupting enemy command and control capabilities in denied environments well into the future.
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, a special-mission Gulfstream G550 that meets Air Force requirements. This new platform will provide combatant commanders with improved stand-off jamming capability and flexibility to counter sophisticated communications and radar threats.
“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.”
The combination of technology maturation and a new aircraft is projected to provide:
- a 50 percent reduction in weight;
- a 50 percent reduction in operating costs;
- operation at higher altitude;
- execution at longer ranges;
- performance at faster speed.
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.