Early Development of the EC-47

The Warner Robbins Air Materiel Area (WRAMA), now the Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center, was the USAF organization responsible for the development and oversight of the EC-47 program, beginning with project HAWK EYE in 1962. Located a few miles south of Macon, Georgia, Warner Robbins remains one of the largest facilities of its type in the country. 

The WRAMA history of the EC-47 describes in detail the challenges, technical and otherwise, faced in converting the WWII Goony Bird into an electronic warfare platform. It is not an operational history. Nonetheless, some of the modifications are interesting—for example, the HAWK EYE aircraft was originally intended to be equipped with a camera, the idea apparently being to photograph the ARDF fix location for further study. 

Chapter three, “Project Red Chief”, relates to a separate program, possibly under the aegis of the CIA, in which a small transmitter (or transponder) could be clandestinely placed on or in an object, presumably a vehicle, thus enabling tracking by the specially equipped C-47. Strictly speaking, Red Chief was not part of the EC-47 ARDF project, but we’ve left the story as a bit of historical trivia. 

Click here to view the history. To reduce the pdf file size, footnotes have been removed from this on-line version.

Article posted 17 June 2020