Posts Tagged ‘Prowler’

E/A-6B Prowler

December 1, 2008

The E/A-6B Prowler is the electronic combat aircraft of the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. The Navy is currently replacing its Prowlers with the new E/A-18G “Growler”, an electronic warfare variant of the USN’s F/A-18 Hornet. The USMC will continue to fly the EA-6B growler for their electronic combat missions.

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Stennis Puts New Growlers to the Test

October 8, 2008
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The EA-18G Growler and the advantages it brings are being tested for the first time in an integrated operational environment aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9 as part of Operation Evaluation (OPEVAL).

The Growler is an electronic attack aircraft, using the same airframe as the F/A-18F Super Hornet. It’s scheduled to replace the EA-6B Prowler in spring 2009 and continue the electronic attack mission in carrier strike groups.

“This carrier test is part of a large test matrix that we have for the airplane. Basically, it’s the final exam for the aircraft,” said VX-9 Electronic Warfare Branch Head Cmdr. Al Bradford.

Squadron pilots will fly during night carrier operations for the first time as they test the Growler’s overall practical operability on the flight deck.

“During the tests, VX-9 will evaluate how the aircraft and its electronic attack components hold up during carrier landings,” said Mike Dobelman, Boeing field service representative.

Stennis’ flight deck crew is providing feedback as they work with the new aircraft to help VX-9 evaluate handling the Growler.

One concern the squadron is seeking feedback on is the difficulty of identifying similar aircraft.

Air Department Mini Boss Brice Lund noted that the jamming pods located on the wings of the Growler is one way to prevent miss-identification from arising during flight deck operations.

However, using the same airframe as the F/A-18F gives the Growler many advantages over its predecessor.
Growlers fly with a two-man crew where the Prowler needs a crew of four.

“The Growler crew is able to do the same mission with half as many people because the airplane has a lot of automated features that the Prowler does not,” said Bradford. “Navigation, communications and the entire crew-vehicle interface is much more automated.”

Replacing the aging Prowlers will also cut down on the amount of maintenance squadron Sailors must perform.
Changing the engine on an EA-6B Prowler requires about two days of work. Changing the engine on the EA-18G Growler only takes about two to three hours.
Growlers also reduce the work load on the flight deck.

“The Prowlers can’t start on their own,” said Aircraft Handling Officer Lt. Eric Harrington. “They need to get assisted power, so that means more ground support up here. Having the Growlers up here does away with that, because now they can start on their own. That’ll minimize the amount of equipment and personnel that have to support that aircraft.”

Having the Super Hornet’s airframe not only makes improvements in operability, but adds new tactical elements, such as self-defense to the electronic attack mission.

While not intended for strike operations, the Growler can fire advanced medium-range, air-to-air missiles to defend itself.

Performing carrier landings on Stennis gives VX-9 a better sense of the Growler’s tactical capacities and functionality as they conduct OPEVAL.

Testing new aircraft in an operational environment ensures that the Navy has access to the most technically advanced and operationally ready military assets to carry out America’s Maritime Strategy.

E.J. Fabrizio (NNS)

EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft

September 28, 2008
 

The EA-6B Prowler provides an umbrella of protection for strike aircraft, ground troops and ships by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications.

 
Features
The Prowler is a long-range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability. Manufactured by the Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, it is a twin-engine, mid-wing configured aircraft that has a side by-side cockpit arrangement. The EA-6B war fighting systems includes the ALQ-99 on board receiver, the ALQ-99 pod mounted jamming system, the USQ-113 communications jamming system and the HARM missile. Two significant upgrades now in development are the Improved Capability (ICAP III) and the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS). The ICAP III, approved for Low Rate Initial Production in June 2003, upgrades the on board receiving system, providing an accurate threat emitter geo-locator and a selective reactive jamming capability against modern threat systems. The ICAP III upgrade includes new cockpit displays, improved systems connectivity, and improved system reliability. The MIDS upgrade provides the ability to receive and utilize data via the Link 16 tactical data link. The Initial Operational Capabilities are planned for March and November 2005, respectively.
 
Background
The primary mission of the EA-6B Prowler is Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses in support of strike aircraft and ground troops by interrupting enemy electronic activity and obtaining tactical electronic intelligence within the combat area.
 
Service
Navy and Marine Corps

 

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Electronic countermeasures.
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation.
Date Deployed: First Flight: 25 May 1968; Operational Capability: July 1971.
Propulsion: Two Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 engines (10,400 pounds thrust each).
Length: 59 feet 10 inches (17.7 meters).
Height: 16 feet 8 inches (4.9 meters).
Wingspan: 53 feet (15.9 meters).
Weight: Maximum Take Off Gross Weight: 61,500 pounds (27,450 kg).
Airspeed: 500 Kts + (575 mph, 920 kmh).
Ceiling: 37,600 feet.
Range: 1,000 nautical miles+ (1,150 miles, 1,840 km).
Crew: Pilot and three electronic countermeasures officers.

 

Data courtesy USN