You know you're getting old when the last EA-6 squadron is deactivated

Discussion in 'Warfare / Military' started by APACHERAT, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A target drone with EW capabilities.

    I wonder if anyone thought about that ?
     
  2. Questerr

    Questerr Banned

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    Yeah, its been done.
     
  3. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Stealth has only limited purpose in war.

    Primarily it is used for when first strikes need to be conducted with little to no warning, or when an attack is not going to be followed by conventional aircraft. It is also primarily used when there is a surface to air threat.

    This is why our stealth aircraft were used extensively in places like Iraq and Libya, but barely used in Afghanistan.

    And there are times you do not want to be "stealthy". In addition to "wild weasel" types of attacks, we often use our ECM aircraft as diversions from where an actual attack is coming (or just to keep the enemy on edge even if there is not going to be an attack at all). And by throwing up a "shield of electronic hash" they can mask other things, not just conventional aircraft. Ship movements, missile launches, or even defend our own ships from enemy missile launches.

    In addition to things already mentioned, such as disrupting enemy communications. This is one of the reasons I put such little faith in drone technology, we know for a fact that Russia has been employing drone jamming technology in Syria. If anybody thinks that they (and us) do not have much more advanced equipment already in place in our ECM aircraft they are fooling themselves.
     
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  4. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Yea, Tom Clancey did. Way back in 1986.

    But the big problem with trying to make an actual "ECM drone" is that simply by how it works, it will be cutting off it's own communications with the outside world. Even our own EW aircraft largely operate cut off from the "outside world", because the hash they throw out affects their own communications, not just that of the enemy being targeted. They do get some of their signals in and out, but most of that bandwidth is basically cut off.

    Think of it as going from a high speed Internet connection back to a 2400 baud MODEM. Yes, you still have communications with the outside world, but nowhere near as much as you have before the jamming started. And no, we really can not "exclude" our own electronics from being affected, it does not work that way. Not to mention that even if we could, we would not do that.

    Because there is always a great chance that at some time in the future (which has happened many times in the past) we could end up facing an enemy that uses our own equipment. Then we would look mighty stupid if it was that easy to defeat this.
     
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  5. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Wild Weasels

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A band of daring fliers team up in a classified program to take out the radars guiding their biggest threat—Soviet SA-2 Guideline missiles.

    https://www.historynet.com/vietnams-wild-weasels.htm
     
  6. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

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    Likely not for very long. Since the Obama Administration all of our boneyards have been pretty much gutted. I remember what the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay and the D-M boneyard as well. Just over a decade ago both of them had great many ships and planes, awaiting either reuse, sale, sinking as a target, or scrapping. But then in 2009 the gates opened up and our government worked feverishly to empty out all of our boneyards.
     
  7. BuckyBadger

    BuckyBadger Banned

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    It does. The ALQ-99 jamming pods and ALQ-128 Electronic Surveillance and Electronic Attack suite are carry overs from the Prowler. The Growler has all the rest of the capabilities including the next generation of jammers. The biggest advantages the Growler brings to the fight over the Prowler is air/air self-defense capability and its improved maintainability. The other benefit is that the Growler is far more "automated" than the EA-6B. Tasks are divided up between a pilot and a RIO (backseater). In the Prowler, there were 4 men who could handle the duties. A great crew in a Prowler was literally "poetry in motion" while a Growler things happen much quieter and far more automated.

    Capabilities are on par, though and there is one thing I wanted to mention because, I saw it here earlier in this thread. The EF-111 Raven was discontinued because it was a maintenance nightmare and it's capabilities were far inferior to the EA-6B. The EF-111 was horribly flawed as an AEA platform. Basically, it long and fast but the pilot literally just drove it while the EWO was "task saturated". In combat, this is a big deal. A Prowler’s crew is far better at simultaneous; Electronic Attack, Electronic Surveillance, battle-space management, and HARM targeting." HARM targeting is crucial for AEA platforms. It not only gives the ability for ESM warfare but to actually go on the offense and take out SAM's and other radar sites.

    Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) really, REALLY, came of age during the 1st Gulf War when it absolutely dominated the battlefield. The amount of jamming and ESW we did was like nothing we had done previously.

    I love the EA-6B and will miss her greatly but the Growler is a fine aircraft and a worthy replacement. They are far more cost effective in the long run and are just as capable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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