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L3Harris EC-37B redesignated as EA-37B

The first EA-37B Compass Call next to one of the EC-130Hs it is intended to replace. (BAE Systems)

The US Air Force's (USAF's) newest electronic attack aircraft, the EC-37B, was redesignated as EA-37B to better comport with its mission, according to Air Combat Command (ACC).

“The EA-37B aircraft designation was selected to better identify the platform's mission of finding, attacking, and destroying enemy land or sea targets,” ACC said in a 14 November statement.

The initial EC-37B designation was an extension of the Gulfstream G550 platform's other uses. In the civilian world the aircraft is flown on executive transport missions, hence the ‘C' for ‘cargo' (though the aircraft rarely transports freight), while the ‘E' designated the version as an electronic attack aircraft.

The EA-37's immediate predecessor, the EC-130, and other transports converted for electronic attack retained their ‘C' designations and will continue to do so until their retirement, projected in 2026. The ‘EA' designation was previously reserved for converted attack aircraft, notably the Boeing EA-18G and now-retired Northrop Grumman EA-6.

The EA-37B will also be given the title Compass Call once the EC-130s that bear the name are retired, which is projected to occur in 2026.

The first of 10 EA-37Bs was delivered on 12 September and is now undergoing testing.

“What we need the EC-37 to do is pretty straightforward,” General Mark Kelly, ACC commander, told reporters at the time. “The bottom line is we need it to enable our ships and aircraft to get closer via electromagnetic protection and electronic attack, [and] make it more difficult for an adversary's ships and aircraft to operate across the [battlespace].”

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