Defence manufacturer BAE Systems will provide the electronic warfare package for the final four EA-37B Compass Call aircraft destined for the US Air Force (USAF).

BAE on 13 February confirmed it will provide the special mission systems for the new jets, which are based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet. L3Harris is the prime contractor for the programme.

The unique aircraft is the Pentagon’s only long-range, full-spectrum stand-off electromagnetic warfare signals-jamming platform, according to BAE. The type saw active service during the US-led war in Iraq, where it disrupted insurgent communications systems used to trigger improvised explosive devices.


Source: US Air Force

The G550-based EA-37B Compass Call will improve upon the current EC-130 electronic warfare platform with modernised mission systems and a faster jet-powered airframe

In a conflict against an industrialised opponent, the Compass Call would be used to disrupt enemy air defences, communications, navigation systems, intelligence gathering and command and control networks.

Only one other aircraft in the US inventory bears an electronic attack designation – the Boeing EA-18G Growler operated by the US Navy.

“The EA-37B’s unique and exquisite [electronic warfare] capabilities make it a powerful asset for the US Air Force and coalition forces,” says Duane Beaulieu, Compass Call technical director at BAE. “As the EA-37B fleet comes on line, the air force will be better equipped to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum.”

EC-130 Compass Call

Source: US Air Force

The EA-37B will assume the Compass Call designation following the retirement of the current C-130-based platform in 2026

The USAF plans to acquire 10 EA-37Bs, which were previously designated the EC-37B. One example of the type was delivered to the service last September for testing and evaluation.

The jets will replace the L3Harris EC-130 Compass Call as the USAF’s strategic electronic warfare platform. Based on the Lockheed Martin C-130 turboprop transport, the EC-130 fleet peaked at 14 aircraft.

The USAF says the newer EA-37B will assume the moniker Compass Call once the EC-130 is fully retired – estimated for 2026.

BAE Systems provided the mission systems package for the EC-130, as well as the first six EA-37Bs under contract. The latest deal covers aircraft seven through 10.

BAE did not disclose a dollar value for the contract.

The company will produce the Compass Call electronic warfare package in Hudson, New Hampshire.