On September 6, 1990, U.S. Administration notified the Congress of the
proposed sale of a single C-130H to Taiwan.
This aircraft was received by the ROCAF in August 1993.
Later it turned out that this C-130H was not intended as a transport aircraft
but was modified by Lockheed and Taiwan's
Chung Shan Institute of Science & Technology (CSIST)
as the Airborne Electronic Surveillance System (AESS) in
a secret program codenamed "Tien Gan" (Airborne Jamming).
It was designated by the ROCAF as the C-130HE, where E stood for "Electronic",
although it was commonly referred to as the Tien Gan aircraft within the air force.
The Tien Gan program was in fact a component of the super-secret "Shuan Ji" (Super
Secret) program, which was initiated in June 1994.
Taiwan's media reported that the role of Tien Gan was to provide the capability of
jamming China's air defense radars, while some foreign media identified its role
as SIGINT gathering.
Externally, the C-130HE differs from other C-130H transport aircraft in the addition
of antenna fairings under the nose (black), under the belly, and on top of the tail fin.
The C-130HE was initially operated by the Tien Gan team based at Pingtung.
The 101st Airlift Fleet (now Airlift Squadron) was responsible for its maintenance.
When the Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare (AEW&EW)
Squadron was established under the 439th (6th) Composite Wing on June 1, 1995,
the C-130HE became its first aircraft.
It was officially commissioned on November 22, 1995, together with the E-2T.
On January 1, 2000, the previously disbanded 20th Group, used to be a Airlift Group, stood up
again at Pingtung, this time as an Electronic Warfare Group.
The C-130HE is assigned to the re-established 6th Electronic Warfare Squadron of the 20th Group.