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EC-130E ABCCC
EC-130E Rivet Rider / Commando Solo
EC-130H Rivet Fire / Compass Call

Courtesy of www.fas.org 

EC-130E ABCCC

The EC-130E ABCCC consists of seven aircraft that are used as an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center. The EC-130E is a modified C-130 "Hercules"; aircraft designed to carry the USC-48 Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center Capsules (ABCCC III). These one-of-a kind aircraft include the addition of external antennae to accommodate the vast number of radios in the capsule, heat exchanger pods for additional air conditioning, an aerial refueling system and special mounted rails for uploading and downloading the USC-48 capsule. The ABCCC has distinctive air conditioner intakes fore of the engines ("Mickey Mouse ears"), two HF radio probes-towards the tips of both wings, and three mushroom-shaped antennas on the top of the aircraft - and, of course, numerous antennas on the belly.

As an Air Combat Command asset, ABCCC (A-B-Triple-C) is an integral part of the Tactical Air Control System. While functioning as a direct extension of ground-based command and control authorities, the primary mission is providing flexibility in the overall control of tactical air resources. In addition, to maintain positive control of air operations, ABCCC can provide communications to higher headquarters, including national command authorities, in both peace and wartime environments.

The USC-48 ABCCC III capsule, which fits into the aircraft cargo compartment, measures 40 feet long, weighs approximately 20,000 pounds and costs $9 million each. The ABCCC provides unified and theater commanders an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC), with the capability for combat operations during war, contingencies, exercises, and special classified missions. A highly trained force of mission ready crew members and specially equipped EC-130E aircraft to support worldwide combat operations. Mission roles include airborne extensions of the Air Operations Center (AOC) and Airborne Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) for command and control of Offensive Air Support (OAS) operations; and airborne on-scene command for special operations such as airdrops or evacuations.

The ABCCC system is a high-tech automated airborne command and control facility featuring computer generated color displays, digitally controlled communications, and rapid data retrieval. The platform's 23 fully securable radios, secure teletype, and 15 automatic fully computerized consoles, allow the battlestaff to quickly analyze current combat situations and direct offensive air support towards fast-developing targets. ABCCC, is equipped with its most recent upgrade the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, allows real-time accountability of airborne tracks to capsule displays through data links with AWACS E-3 "Sentry" aircraft.

EC-130E Commando Solo / Rivet Rider

The EC-130E Commando Solo (initially known as Volant Solo) is available to commanders for localized targeting of specific avenues of communication. The EC-130E exists in Comfy Levi and Rivet Rider versions. Senior Hunter aircraft flying the SENIOR SCOUT mission support Commando Solo aircraft. This weapon system is the mainstay information operations aircraft for peacekeeping and peacemaking operations and humanitarian efforts which comprise a large percentage of today's military missions. 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 the maximum altitudes possible to ensure optimum propagation patterns. The EC-130 flies 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.

With the capability to control the electronic spectrum of radio, television, and military communication bands in a focused area, the Commando Solo aircraft can prepare the battlefield through psychological operations and civil affairs broadcasts. These modified C-130Es provide broadcasting capabilities primarily for psychological operations missions; support disaster relief operations; and perform communications jamming in military spectrum and intelligence gathering. One oversized blade antenna is under each wing with a third extending forward from the vertical fin. A retractable wire antenna is released from the modified beavertail, with a second extending from the belly and held vertical by a 500 pound weight.

Capabilities include:

  • Reception, analysis, and transmission of various electronic signals to exploit electromagnetic spectrum for maximum battlefield advantage
  • Secondary capabilities include jamming, deception, and manipulation techniques
  • Unrefueled range 2800 NM
  • Broadcasts in frequency spectrums including AM/FM radio, short-wave, television, and military command, control and communications channels
Rivet Rider modification includes:
  • VHF and UHF Worldwide format color TV
  • Infrared countermeasures [chaff/flare dispensers plus infrared jammers]
  • Vertical trailing wire antenna
  • Fire suppressant foam in fuel tank
  • Radar warning receiver
  • Self-contained navigation system
The modification added a pair of underwing pylon mounted 23X6 foot equipment pods, along with X-antennae mounted on both sides of the vertical fin. Six aircraft have been modified to the Rivet Rider configuration by the contractor, Lockheed Martin; Ontario, California.

Commando Solo and Senior Scout operations may be long or short range missions with extended orbit delays planned at the aircraft operating ceiling, and may require one or multiple air refuelings. Some missions may require a combat profile, with a low altitude profile enroute to the mission orbit area. The electronic environment may be hostile, with enemy ability to jam all communications radios and electronic transmission systems; to intercept and use intelligence information transmitted over nonsecure electronic systems and radios; and to pinpoint the position of the aircraft emitting any electronic transmission or signal.

Commando Solo supported the operation JOINT GUARD mission by shutting down anti-SFOR propaganda through radio and TV broadcasts over Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of SFOR operations.

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Copyright 2008 Tony Rogers