Constellation, Part III
By Scott Schwartz
Known to aircrews as the “Willy Victor,” the WV-2 became the EC-121K in Navy parlance, after aircraft designations became standardized among the services in 1962. One hundred, forty two of these aircraft were ordered for the Navy, and the first of them were delivered in 1953.
Thirteen of the EC-121Ks were converted into EC-121M “electronic intelligence” aircraft, while another nine were modified to become WC-121N weather-reconnaissance machines. Other EC-121s were used by Navy training squadrons – and one of these aircraft served until 1982.
For its part, the USAF received 84 EC-121s; the first of these came from the Navy contract, with deliveries to the Air Force beginning in 1953. Ten of these aircraft – RC-121s – became TC-121C trainers. Most of the remainder were used as electronic-monitoring or as radio-broadcast aircraft for use in psychological warfare.
The reader should consider that the WV-2/EC-121 aircraft were operated primarily during an era when satellite surveillance was in its infancy or was non-existent.