In the grand old tradition of military might and electronic wizardry, the skies are set to witness a new champion of the electromagnetic spectrum—the EA-37B, armed to the teeth with BAE Systems’ latest electronic warfare (EW) tech.

As of February 13, 2024, the brass at BAE threw down the gauntlet, promising the US Air Force (USAF) a fleet that’s nothing short of revolutionary, setting the stage for a seismic shift in EW and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

A Legend Reborn: The Compass Call Evolution

This isn’t just any upgrade; it’s a veritable overhaul of the USAF’s jamming platforms, designed to muddle and muzzle adversaries’ attempts at using the electromagnetic spectrum for communication, navigation, and air defense.

At the center of this audacious move is the revered ‘Compass Call,’ a name that echoes through the halls of the Pentagon as the premier stand-off EW jamming platform.

Yet, even legends need a facelift, so the aging EC-130H Compass Call fleet of 14 is making way for the sleeker, meaner EA-37Bs—a fleet of ten set to redefine aerial dominance.

EA-37B RF testing
The EA-37B aircraft underwent RF testing in the Benefield Anechoic Facility earlier this month. (Image grab via X)

From Business Jets to Battlefield Dominance

The transition kicked off with BAE Systems rolling out the first of these beasts in September last year, and the USAF is itching to field these birds by mid-2024, pending the nod from developmental and operational flight tests.

The EA-37B, a marvel of engineering, is built on the bones of the Gulfstream G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning Aircraft, a lineage tracing back to the G550 business jet, promising a blend of luxury and lethality.

Duane Beauliu, the man behind the Compass Call’s curtain at BAE Systems, is betting big on these birds.

In his words, the EA-37B fleet is set to catapult the USAF into a new era of electromagnetic spectrum dominance.

“The EA-37 B’s unique and exquisite EW capabilities make it a powerful asset for the US Air Force and coalition forces,” said Beauliu in a press release statement. “As the EA-37B fleet comes on line, the Air Force will be better equipped to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum.”

And why wouldn’t he? The specs speak for themselves—29 meters (95 feet) in length, a 28-meter (91 ft) wingspan, and powered by twin Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 engines.

This bird is lighter, leaner, and meaner than its EC-130H predecessor, slashing weight and operating costs by a staggering 50 percent.

EC-130H Compass Call takes its final flight at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on February 28, 2022. (Image source: DVIDS)

A Glimpse into the Future of Global Defense

But it’s not just about one aircraft or one system; it’s a testament to a broader shift in the global defense landscape.

As the brains at GlobalData spell it out in their ‘Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033report, we’re staring down the barrel of a $78.6 billion investment in ISR aircraft over the next decade.

North America is leading this charge, fueled by acquisitions like the EC-37B Compass Call and the E-2D, painting a picture of a future where the battle for the skies is won long before the first missile is launched.

A Declaration of Electromagnetic Supremacy

So, as the geopolitical chessboard continues its relentless churn, the USAF’s bet on the EA-37B and its cutting-edge EW systems is more than just an upgrade—it’s a declaration.

A declaration that in the race for supremacy in the skies and across the electromagnetic spectrum, the United States is not just participating; it’s setting the pace.

This kind of move keeps adversaries up at night, wondering what’s coming over the horizon.

In essence, we’re witnessing the dawn of a new era in electronic warfare and surveillance, where the old guard is replaced by new blood—faster, more efficient, and infinitely more capable.

It’s a testament to the relentless pursuit of superiority, a reminder that in the theater of modern warfare, staying ahead isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity.

The EA-37 B’s future rollout is more than just a military maneuver; it’s a bold statement of intent from the USAF, signaling a future where the electromagnetic spectrum is not just a battlefield but a domain under their undisputed control.

So, as we look to the skies, let’s remember that the game has changed, and the USAF isn’t just playing to win; they’re playing to dominate.