Oct 15, 2014 17:10 UTC
Latest updates[?]: USN submits Environmental Impact Statement for 36 more EA-18Gs at NAS Whidbey; Australia getting EA-18G TOFT full simulators, expeditionary support contract as their F/A-18Fs bomb ISIS from the UAE.
EA-18G at Pax
The USA’s electronic attack fighters are a unique, overworked, and nearly obsolete capability. With the retirement of the US Air Force’s long-range EF-111 Raven “Spark ‘Vark,” the aging 4-seat EA-6B Prowlers became the USA’s only remaining fighter for radar jamming, communications jamming and information operations like signals interception . Despite their age and performance limits, they’ve been predictably busy on the front lines, used for everything from escorting strike aircraft against heavily defended targets, to disrupting enemy IED land mine attacks by jamming all radio signals in an area.
All airframes have lifespan limits, however, and the EA-6B is no exception. The USA’s new electronic warfare aircraft will be based on Boeing’s 2-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighter, and has 90% commonality with its counterpart. That will give it decent self-defense capabilities, as well as electronic attack potential. At present, however, the EA-18G is slated to be the only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft in the USA’s future force. Since the USA is currently the only western country with such aircraft, the US Navy’s EA-18G fleet would become the sole source of tactical jamming support for NATO and allied air forces as well.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article describes the EA-18G aircraft and its key systems, outlining the program, and keeping track of ongoing developments, contracts, etc. that affect the program.
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Aug 24, 2014 17:36 UTC
In recent wars, a lot of high tech gear has been upstaged by a surprising contender. Countries like the USA, Canada, Britain, Egypt, Iraq, and others are flying low-end turboprop business aircraft fitted with an array of sensors and a small crew. They’re cheap to buy, don’t use technology that makes export approval difficult, and are easy to maintain. Operating them is well within the capabilities of any country with an air force. Their sensors also offer more diversity and power than all but the highest-cost UAVs, in exchange for having just 1/2 to 1/3 of a high-end UAV’s mission endurance. No wonder many countries see them as a good complement to, or substitute for, existing UAV offerings.
Saudi Arabia has the money and clout to buy the expensive stuff. Nevertheless…
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