Differences in the EC-47N, P and Q Models.

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This is part of a letter I sent to Fred Lewis and Bob Wilhelm.

What I would like to know, if you remember and can freely give out the information, is the differences in the 3 different series of the EC-47's. I know they made a lot of changes in the 7 years they were in operation after my tour.

Fred, do you remember which ones had which engines, I know some had the R-2000's installed and heard some even had the R-2800's, this is the sort of basic aircraft differences I do not know. And Bob, you may not be able to divulge your changes but what ever you can supply, I would like to add a page giving the differences for those like myself. anything you can supply will be appreciated. Thanks, J.C.

From: Robert Wilhelm

Subject: Re: EC-47N, P, & Q


The information I can give is probably pretty basic because, being an analyst and therefore not using a console or any similar electronic equipment, I didn't know much about the technical aspects of the aircraft systems. But here is what I remember. The EC-47N was the most basic system. It had the rod-type DF antennas (a set in the nose and a set on each wing). Inside were three consoles. One for the navigator (on the port side just ahead of the troop door), one for the X operator (immediately in front of the Nav), and one for the Y operator (on the starboard side, across from the X). As you probably know, the X console was tied into the Nav console so that targets X was working could be DFed by the Nav. The Y console was basically the same as the X except he wasn't tied into the Nav. Incidently, I was interested to see the photos you had of the inner workings of your goons. It looked like the Nav didn't have a table or console. Was that the case?

The EC-47P had the same DF setup as the N only there was the Z1 and Z2 positions. Both were on the starboard side, Z1 in front of Y and Z2 behind Y. Whereas X and Y were primarily concerned with morse signals (AFSC's of these men were 292, I believe), Z1 and Z2 were looking for voice targets (AFSC of 203). Analysts (202's), when they were carried, sat in the old Navigator position in the forward part of the aircraft behind the pilot. Before take off we often sat in the jump seat behind the Nav to keep the troop door open and provide some relief from the heat. Just before we pulled onto the runway, the 202 would close the door and go forward to his position.

The EC-47Q was an updated, more computerized version of the P. Its DF antennas were blade type antennas. They were still in three sets: One set on each wing and a set on the rear fuselage aft of the troop door. You can see them on one of the photos I sent.

Hope this is the type of information you were looking for. Let me know if I need to clarify anything. None of this is still classified that I am aware of.


A note on the Navigators position. This is a reply to the question of the Navigators work table. During my tour, the Navigators equipment, for the most part was mounted on the left side at about eye level. He did have a table to work at mounted just below this equipment. He could either work standing up or seated on a tall stool, similar to a bar stool. The driftmeter was just forward of the work table as can be seen in a couple of the interior photos. J.C. Wheeler

From: George B. Montague Subject: Re: EC-47N, P, & Q

This received this morning, May 17, 1998. When I was flying as a backender from 67 thru 70 we only refered to the birds other the basic (X and Y) as "Z" which had the two extra positions for collection. This is the bird which the analyst's flew on. The other bird was refered to as the "Q", which also had the extra two positions for collection but they also had the added jamming equipment. Analyst would also fly on this bird along with two extra radio operators. In the three years I was with the 6994th, we never were tasked with using the jamming equipment. The story I heard when I first arrived at TSN was that the only time the jammer was activated it jammed just about all the whole radio spectrum in IV corps, and if we could not use our radios, we were at a major disadvantage. I think that equipment was upgraded after I left so I am not familiar with any of the later configurations.

From: Stan Poyas

Subject: EC-47N, P, & Q This received June 6, 1998.

The EC-47N and P models flew with the Pratt&Whitney R-1830 engines and the EC-47Q flew with the larger Pratt&Whitney R-2000 engines, (these are the engines normally found on the C-54, a 4 engine aircraft if my memory serves me right). Also, the Q model flew with the AN/ALR-38 systems whereas the N and P models had the AN/ALR-34 and AN/ALR-35 systems.

From: Joe Martin, Sat Jun 06 21:07:34 1998 Subject: EC-47 Models

An indepth report on EC-47 Model Differences.

Herewith details (as far as I can determine) on EC-47 models used for ARDF: * * * * * * * * The Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) EC-47s were originally designated RC-47. Model designations were EC-47N, P and Q. It should be noted that at least a few non-ARDF aircraft were also designated "EC". This listing covers only the ARDF versions. EC-47N -- Originally built as C-47A, built in both Douglas Long Beach (2,832) and Oklahoma City (2,300) plants. EC-47P -- Originally built as C-47B, all but 300 (of 3000+) built at Oklahoma City. The "B" model had R-1830-90C engines and two-stage blowers designed for the high altitude "hump" runs the CBI. The engine evidently was not a great performer, and after the war the blowers were removed from most B's which were then redesignated D's. Without knowing the aircraft S/N, it would probably be impossible to tell the difference between models, although most photos of original B models show the long filter housing fairing aft of the engine, but some A models were also equipped this way. The EC-47N/P were equipped with either the AN/ALR-34 (formerly designated ARD-18) or -35 ARDF system developed by Sanders Associates of Nashua, NH, (now part of Lockheed Martin.) The "X" (ARDF) radio operator and the navigator station were on the left (cargo door) side of the cabin. The "Y" operator sat across the aisle from X and the navigator and was responsible for the "documentation" of mission results and usually for passing target information to the army Direct Support Unit (DSU) on the ground. The -35 system featured some computer-enhanced plotting ability. The "Electric Goons" had a leaflet chute installed in the rear-most window on the right hand side. Early in the program, "psy war" leaflets were dropped to disguise the mission, but the practice was eventually stopped. Some 30 EC-47s were modified into "Z" configuration by adding a pair of collection-only stations on the right-hand side of the cabin aisle. Typically, the Z1 position (forward of Y) was manned by a linguist (AFSC 203XX), with the aft (Z2) position being devoted to Morse intercept operations (AFSC 292X1). Intelligence analysts (AFSC 202XX) were sometimes carried as well. Six EC-47N/P aircraft were equipped with the QRC-346 jamming system and were distinguishable externally by the "banjo" array of 6 long-wire antennas atop the fuselage. The standard EC-47s had only 2 wires. Most if not all of these aircraft were assigned to the 360th TEWS at TSN during the 1970-71 timeframe, but were never used in their intended role, serving instead as standard ARDF/collection birds. (Note: These "Q" system aircraft should not be confused with the EC-47Q described below.) A total of 53 aircraft were converted to EC-47N/P models. A total of 16 (11 + 5 later) Gooney Birds were modified as EC-47Q models. These were re-engined with R-2000-4 powerplants (as in the C-54) and AN/ALR-38 systems which had VHF capability. The Q models can be distinguished from the N/P models by the many blade-like antennas on the aircraft. (As far as the writer knows, these aircraft were operated exclusively by the 362nd TEWS operating out of Pleiku and later Da Nang. They presumably covered areas around the DMZ and along the Ho Chi Minh trail where VHF voice targets could be profitably worked.) The EC-47s were painted in standard USAF two-tone green over tan SEA camouflage with one notable exception: the undersurfaces were a semi-gloss white rather than the usual pale cream/gray. TEWS squadron codes and "last 3" serial numbers were also in white. Codes were AJ for the 360th, AL for the 361st, and AN for the 362nd. Photos show that these codes were removed sometime after 1972. Individual aircraft sometimes carried "nose art" up to early 1970 at which time (in the 360th at least) it was overpainted. Several examples can be seen in photos on this and other web sites. The 360th was also unique in that it operated with the paratroop door removed in an attempt to provide some relief from the extremely hot conditions on the ramp at TSN. (A strap web was fastened across the "hole" once the aircraft was boarded.) The last USAF EC-47 mission was flown from Ubon RTAFB ca. June, 1974. (See photos of this event by Stan Poyas elsewhere.) However, 30 or so EC-47s (all believed to have the older -34 systems) were supplied to the VNAF in 1972-73. The VNAF 718th Recon Sqn (TEWS) mounted 12 EC-47 missions a day from TSN (plus detachments to Da Nang) until the fall of South Viet Nam in May, 1975. At that time, at least some of the NVAF "Electric Goons" escaped to Thailand. [Source for original C-47 differences: Peter M. Bowers, "The DC-3 -- Fifty Years of Legendary Flight".] [Source for EC-47 designations: Robert W. Barnwell, "EC-47 Aircraft, 1962-1970 -- A Summary of Modifications" (WRAMA Historical Study No. 24, July 1971) in the AFHRA archives.] [VNAF info: Mr. Pham Tan Chon, former VNAF navigator, 718th TEWS.] -- Joe Martin 6994th SCTY SQN, 1970-71 [email protected]

Information posted on 25 July, 1998

This bit if information on the differences in models was provided by John Fuertinger. John says the "Q" models had the R-2000 engines on them and were distinguishable by the longer propeller shaft, about 6" of shaft showing between the propeller and the gear reduction case. The original engine, the R-1830, had minimal prop shaft visible between the propeller and the gear box.

Thank John. [email protected]

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