Military Aviation

EA-6B PROWLER’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED AT MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT

For more than four decades the EA-6B has been the U.S. Navy and USMC long-range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability

A commemoration ceremony was held aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C., on Feb. 17, 2017 to honor the 40th anniversary of the delivery of the first U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) EA-6B Prowler.

For more than four decades in fact the EA-6B has been the U.S. Navy and USMC long-range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability. Manufactured by the Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, the Prowler 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 have been the Improved Capability (ICAP III) and the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS). The ICAP III, approved for Low Rate Initial Production in Jun. 2003, upgraded 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 EA-6B Prowler provides an umbrella of protection for strike aircraft, ground troops and ships by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links and communications.

The primary mission of the Prowler is suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) in support of strike aircraft and ground troops by interrupting enemy electronic activity and obtaining tactical electronic intelligence within the combat area.

Noteowrhty the U.S. Navy retired the EA-6B in Jun. 2015 and replaced its Prowler fleet with the new EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

Instead, since the USMC will not receive the Growler, the last EA-6B Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare (VMAQ) squadrons will be operating until their sundown in 2019 when the final Prowler will be transitioned out of the Marine Corps.

Marines assigned to various Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadrons come together in honor of the 40th anniversary of the EA-6B Prowler during a commemoration ceremony held aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Feb. 17, 2017.

Source: Prowler’s 40th anniversary commemorated aboard MCAS Cherry Point by Cpl. Jason Jimenez, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and U.S. Navy; Photo credit: Cpl. N.W. Huertas / U.S. Navy and and Cpl. Jason Jimenez / U.S. Marine Corps

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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