Article Published in the Defense News
Luke Hill’s article, “Mock Air Wars Test NATO Gear Against Russian Battery,” in the Aug. 28 issue, was quite illuminating.
Apparently, policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic have belatedly realized it was a big mistake to downgrade airborne electronic-warfare capabilities in the expectation that stealth would make them less necessary.
Stealth is increasingly important to aircraft survivability, but it is entering the force too slowly. Something has to be done to bolster the survivability of thousands of non-stealthy aircraft, and electronic warfare (EW) – jamming or deceiving enemy sensors and weapons – is the best available solution.
The EA-6B Prowler figures prominently in any EW strategy, because it is the nation’s sole airborne support jammer. That is likely to remain true for at least another decade, so we need to do what we can to preserve and enhance the 123 remaining Prowlers. Without the protection provided by Prowlers, much of our existing combat fleet would be unusable against the most demanding threats.
It should be noted that Prowlers do more than jam enemy radar. They also suppress hostile communications, impeding an enemy’s capacity to operated integrated defenses.
These “infowar” capabilities are being upgraded in a highly classified series of technology insertions. The services don’t like to discuss such efforts, but they will make the EA-6B a much more agile master of the electromagnetic spectrum in future conflicts.
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