Following the deactivation of VMAQ-3 last week, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is now left with only one EA-6B squadron.
VMAQ-2 is expected to deactivate in October this year as well.
“VMAQ-2′s deactivation in FY19 will mark the end of the EA-6B’s service in the Marine Corps, as well as its continuous employment as a joint tactical Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) asset,” Capt. Sarah Burns, a Marine spokeswoman, told Marine Corps Times.
VMAQ-3’s EA-6Bs are headed for 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309 AMARG) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) in Tucson, Arizona, commonly referred to as the Boneyard, where they will be stored and preserved.
Noteworthy the Prowlers put up a hell of a fight in their final years deployed overseas in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) against ISIS militants.
In February 2014, VMAQ-3, “the Moondogs,” deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to support operations in the United States Central Command area of operations. VMAQ-4 subsequently began operations over the skies of Syria that August.
The Moondogs carried out one final deployment from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, spanning April to September 2017, in support of OIR.
The mission: to “conduct airborne electronic warfare in support of operations, to include suppressing enemy radar and surface-to-air missiles utilizing electronic jamming and high-speed anti-radiation missiles, as well as collecting tactical intelligence in a passive electronic support role,” a command release states.
In mid-April, an EA-6B escorted a pair of U.S. Air Force (USAF) B-1B bombers as they carried out airstrikes against the Barzah Research and Development Center located near Damascus, Syria.
The strikes were in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against civilians in the village of Douma, Syria, in early April. The EA-6B escort was likely there to suppress enemy air defense systems.
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 Corps electronic warfare community will be disbanded in 2019 when the final Prowler will be transitioned out of the Marine Corps.
“Since 1977 the Marines and Sailors of the VMAQ squadrons have continued their legacy of professionalism and distinguished service supporting continuous deployments and operations from El Dorado Canyon in 1986 to Operation Inherent Resolve all while flying in excess of 250,000 flight hours,” Burns said.
Photo credit: SSGT LEE O. TUCKER / U.S. Air Force and Cpl. Jodson B. Graves / U.S. Marine Corps
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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