JED - April 2015 - (Page 26)

Honoring th A History of the Grumman EA-6B T By Rick Morgan The Journal of Electronic Defense | April 2015 26 The Grumman EA-6B Prowler is, simply, the most important single Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft ever built or operated. The remarkable Prowler has been the Naval Services' primary EW platform for four decades and, as of 2014, had been in carrier duty longer than any other jet, from any other community, in history. In June, the Navy will note the Prowler's remarkable tenure with a celebration at NAS Whidbey Island, WA, and formally say goodbye to the jet that firmly established the Service's VAQ community as a major player in carrier aviation. And, while the party's going on, the Marines will still be flying the EA-6B, probably in combat, as they continue to use the weapon as it was designed; by jamming, denying and downright irritating the enemies of the United States through heavy electronic bombardment. BEGINNINGS The design that eventually became the EA-6B was sired from Grumman's A-6 Intruder, with initial work being done at Bethpage, NY, in 1963. The company had already developed an EW version of the Intruder for the Marines in the form of the EA-6A (formerly A2F-1H), and it would go on to do great work during the Vietnam War. The Navy's carrier-based active EW force was found in only two squadrons of Douglas EA-1F (AD-5Q) Skyraiders, the VAW-13 Zappers in Alameda, CA, and east-coast counterpart VAW-33 Knight Hawks at Quonset Point, RI. Their combined strength of 31 aircraft made up the entire US Navy carrier-based active (jamming) EW capability as of January 1963, supplying threeplane detachments on most deployed attack (CVA) carriers. The start of the Vietnam War introduced a frightening new range of threats to carrier-based aviation, foremost of which was the SA-2 surfaceto-air missile. (SAM). Although first used successfully in 1959, the SA-2, along with a well-organized radar and communication system, reinforced the need for electronic countermeasures to shield strikers. With the new Grumman proposal being a few years away, the Navy needed an interim jamming platform using a version of the Douglas A-3 Skywarrior. The resulting EKA-3B "Whale" was introduced in 1967 and proved to be a capable performer that

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - April 2015

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Honoring the Prowler
Technology Survey: Low Noise Amplifiers
Preview: EW Europe 2015
EW 101
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - April 2015