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EC-130 Commando Solo

The EC-130 Commando Solo conducts psychological operations and civil affairs broadcast missions in the standard AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bands. Missions are flown at maximum altitudes possible to ensure optimum propagation patterns. The EC-130 flies during either day or night scenarios with equal success, and is air refuelable. A typical mission consists of a single-ship orbit which is offset from the desired target audience. The targets may be either military or civilian personnel. Secondary missions include command and control communications countermeasures (C3CM) and limited intelligence gathering. The three variants are EC-130 ABCCC, EC-130E Commando Solo, and the EC-130H Compass Call.

The EC-130 was originally modified using the mission electronic equipment from the EC-121 Coronet Solo[?]. Soon after the 193rd SOG received its EC-130s, the unit participated in the rescue of US citizens in Operation Urgent Fury, acting as an airborne radio station informing those people on Grenada of the US military action. Commando Solo was instrumental in the success of coordinated psychological operations in Operation Just Cause, again broadcasting continuously throughout the initial phases of the operation to help end the Manuel Noriega regime. Most recently, in 1994, Commando Solo was utilized to broadcast radio and television messages to the citizens and leaders of Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy[?].

The EC-130s deployed early in the operation, highlighting the importance of PSYOP in avoiding military and civilian casualties. President Aristide was featured on the broadcasts which contributed significantly to the orderly transition from military rule to democracy. In 1990 the EC-130 joined the newly formed Air Force Special Operations Command and has since been designated Commando Solo, with no change in mission. This one-of-a-kind aircraft is consistently improving its capabilities. The next few years should see continued enhancements to the EC-130 and its worldwide mission.

Highly specialized modifications have been made to the latest version of the EC-130 (Commando Solo). Included in these mods are enhanced navigation systems, self-protection equipment, and the capability of broadcasting color television on a multitude of worldwide standards through out the TV VHF/UHF ranges. The ABCCC is an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center[?] used as an airborne command post. Last, but not least, Compass Call is an airborne communications jamming platform. It was used extensively in the Gulf War disrupting Iraqi communications at both the strategic and tactical levels.


  • Primary Function: Psychological operations broadcasts.
  • Contractor: Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company.
  • Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops; 4,910 shaft horsepower per engine.
  • Length: 100.5 feet
  • Height: 38.3 feet
  • Wingspan: 132.5 feet
  • Speed: 299 mph at 20,000 feet
  • Ceiling: 20,000 feet
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 155,000 pounds
  • Range: 2,100-plus miles

Crew / Cost

  • Crew: Four officers (pilot, copilot, navigator, mission control chief/EWO); seven enlisted (flight engineer, loadmaster, five mission crew).
  • Unit Flyaway Cost: More than US$70 million.
  • Date Deployed: 1992

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