Primary Function: Psychological operations and information operations
Service: United States Air Force
Contractor: Lockheed Aircraft Co.
Power Plant: AE2100D3 six-blade turboprops
Thrust: 6,000 shaft horsepower each engine
Wingspan: 132.6 feet (40.3 meters)
Length: 97.75 feet (29.7 meters)
Height: 38.8 feet (11.8 meters)
Cruise speed: 335 mph
Ceiling: 28,000 feet (8,534 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 164,000 pounds (74,390 kilograms)
Range: 2,300 nautical miles unrefueled
Crew: Pilot, copilot, flight systems officer, mission systems officer; two loadmasters and five electronic communications systems operators
Initial operating capability: 1980
Unit Cost: EC-130J, approximately $110 million; EC-130SJ Super J, approximately $85 million
Inventory: EC-130J, Active force, 0; Reserve, 0; ANG, 3; EC-130SJ Super J, Active force, 0; Reserve, 0; ANG, 4
Modified from the adaptable C-130 Hercules airframe, the EC-130J Commando Solo is used by the U.S. Air Force to broadcast radio, television and other media in support of psychological operations in combat.
The airborne radio and television broadcast mission originated in the mid-1960s with the EC-121 (known as Coronet Solo). The mission later transitioned to the EC-130E (1980) and eventually to the EC-130J and Super J (2004). Soon after the 193rd SOW received EC-130s, the Air National Guard unit participated in the rescue of American citizens in Operation Urgent Fury in 1983. Then known as Volant Solo, the aircraft acted as an airborne radio station, keeping the citizens of Grenada informed about the U.S. military action. Several years later in 1989, Volant Solo was instrumental in the success of coordinated psychological operations in Operation Just Cause. During this mission it broadcast throughout the initial phases of the operation, helping to end the Noriega regime.
In 1990, the 193rd joined the newly formed Air Force Special Operations Command, and the wing's aircraft were redesignated Commando Solo, with no change in mission. In 1990-91, Commando Solo was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Turkey in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Its missions included broadcasting the "Voice of the Gulf" and other highly successful programs intended to convince Iraqi soldiers to surrender.
The EC-130SJ Super J conducts special operations forces missions including military free fall, which includes both high altitude, low opening and high altitude, high opening missions. The aircraft also conducts joint precision aerial delivery system, container delivery system and pyschological operations leaflet drops.
The Air Force Special Operations Command's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Middletown, Pa., has total responsibility for the Commando Solo and Commando Solo Super J missions.