As it is with any other important aspect of life, communication is crucial in warfare. Once troops are deployed to a theatre of war, the quality of communication between frontline troops and central command is one of the major contributing factors that ultimately decide the outcome.
Significant advancements in the field of cryptography and the increasing sophistication in the sort of communication equipment used by military personnel around the world have made it exceedingly difficult to eavesdrop on or intercept military communication channels.
However, the U.S. military is taking this obstacle in stride. They recently revealed their next-generation EC-37B Compass Call electronic warfare jet that is set to replace the EC-130H. A primary purpose of both of these aircraft is the disruption of enemy communication streams, ideally giving the U.S. military a significant edge.
Electronic Attack Aircraft
Many people are unfamiliar with the military term “electronic warfare” since it hasn’t been portrayed in the media as frequently as other types of warfare that are perhaps deemed more exciting. However, electronic warfare is just as important as any other facet of modern warfare.
Electronic warfare (EW) involves the use of electromagnetic spectrum, including radar, radio, or infrared signals, to communicate and protect within your own forces while thwarting the enemy’s ability to use or disrupt those signals. EW is the first step toward turning the tide of a battle by seizing control of enemy communication channels and manipulating the quality and flow of communication on the battlefield.
The EC-130H, which is set to be replaced soon by the newer EC-37B, is an electronic attack airplane designed to disrupt enemy command. These planes are able to control the flow of communication, perform offensive counter-information operations, and perform other kinds of electronic attacks.
They can also be deployed worldwide at short notice to support U.S. operations forces.
More About the EC-37B Compass Call
The EC-37B Compass Call is one of the three main aircraft employed by the U.S. military for electronic warfare. It’s capable of jamming communications, radar, and command-and-control targets.
The first EC-37B Compass Call aircraft made its inaugural flight in 2021, with members of the U.S. House of Representatives in attendance. The success of the event resulted in an extra $37 billion added to the proposed defense budget for the fiscal year 2023, $883.7 million of which was set aside to acquire four additional versions of the new aircraft in addition to the ten the U.S. Department of Defense had asked for.
This clearly shows how highly the U.S. military establishment thinks of electronic warfare and the role the EC-37B could potentially play on the battlefield.
Advantages of the New EC-37B over the EC-130H
The EC-130H was beneficial to the US Air Force in the past, but most units now in use date back to the Vietnam war. There’s a clear need for upgrades, which will be provided in part by the newer EC-37B.
According to military contractors in charge of its development, the EC-37B “has increased speed, endurance, and extended stand-off range over the legacy EC-130H aircraft – providing significantly improved survivability.” Ultimately, stakeholders believe that “the new platform will provide combatant commanders with improved stand-off jamming capability and flexibility to counter sophisticated communications and radar threats.”
In other words, the EC-37B should continue to afford the U.S. military the same advantages the EC-130H did, and then some.
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