Commando Solo

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Commando Solo in flight over Harrisburg PA.

According to Air Force Link, the official site of the US Air force:

The EC-130J Commando Solo, a specially-modified four-engine Hercules transport, conducts information operations, psychological operations and civil affairs broadcasts in AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bands. A typical mission consists of a single-ship orbit offset from the desired target audience -- either military or civilian personnel... Many modifications have been made to Commando Solo. These include... the capability of broadcasting radio and color TV on all worldwide standards.

The Aircraft has been used for propaganda in all major US interventions since the early 1980s including Grenada, Panama, Iraq (1990-1), Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq (2003-present):

US propagandists inside Commando Solo
Then known as Volant Solo, the aircraft acted as an airborne radio station, keeping the people 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.
In 1994, Commando Solo was used to broadcast radio and TV messages to the citizens and leaders of Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was featured in these broadcasts, which contributed to the orderly transition from military rule to democracy.
An artists impression of the inside of Commando Solo
Continuing its tradition, in 1997 the 193rd SOW and Commando Solo supported the United Nations' Operation Joint Guard with radio and TV broadcasts over Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Stabilization Forces operations. In 1998, the unit and its aircraft participated in Operation Desert Thunder, a deployment to Southwest Asia to convince Iraq to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The Commando Solo was again sent into action in 1999 in support of Operation Allied Force. The aircraft was tasked to broadcast radio and television into Kosovo to prevent ethnic cleansing and assist in the expulsion of the Serbs from the region. The aircraft broadcast messages to the local Afghan population and Taliban soldiers during Operation Enduring Freedom. Most recently, the Commando Solo has been deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2006, the "E" model was retired.[1]


Iraq 2003

A US soldier edits a propaganda broadcast
The ‘reconstruction’ of Iraqi media began on the 10th April with the first broadcast of Towards Freedom a joint US/UK television project broadcast on the same frequency as the former Iraqi state television service. The service included programming supplied by ABC, CBS, Fox and PBS networks in the US. The UK element was produced by the private company already contracted by the foreign Office to provide satellite propaganda arund the world. CBS president Andrew Heyward reportedly became convinced that ‘this is a good thing to do… a patriotic thing to do’ after conversations with ‘some of the most traditional minded colleagues’ at CBS.[2] Only CNN refused to join in. A spokesperson noted ‘we didn’t think that as an independent, global news organisation it was appropriate to participate in a United States government video transmission’.[3] And of course that is what it was, transmitted into Iraq by means of Commando Solo the psyops aircraft used to broadcast propaganda by the US psyops operation.[4]
World Television... produced Towards Freedom Television on behalf of the UK Government. This was a propaganda broadcast distributed in Iraq by US Army psychological operations teams from a specially adapted aircraft, called Commando Solo, in 2003/4.[5]



  1. EC-130J COMMANDO SOLO, US Air Force Factsheet May 2006.
  2. American "free press" in action. US networks agree to serve as Pentagon propaganda tool in Iraq. By Henry Michaels World socialist Web Site, 15 April 2003
  3. Michael;s, Ibid.
  4. David Miller, Information Dominance: The Philosophy Of Total Propaganda Control? Scoop, Monday, 29 December 2003, 3:17 pm
  5. The British Government's global fake news network David Miller, Spinwatch 15 February 2006