This video is done by a museum curator at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, which, as you will see houses a very important EA-6B Prowler. The presenter is a bit of a geek, but he gives a great presentation on the EA-6B.
The EA-6B Prowlers were taken out of active duty in 2015 by the Navy and just last year by the Marine Corps. They have been replaced by the more modern EA-18 Prowler. The Prowlers and their pilots and their Electronic Warfare Operators and maintenance crews train and deploy to aircraft carriers around the world out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
The EA-6B Prowler was designed for use by the Navy and Marine Corps pilots in 1966. Its first flight was in 1968. This jet platform was designed like no other, to provide a unique kind of support to ground attack fighter planes and for electronic warfare roles.
By 1968 sophisticated Russian electronics systems were helping the North Vietnamese anti-aircraft weaponry to great effect. They were causing havoc to our high altitude B-52 bombers and to the low level fighter bombers that were attacking targets in North Vietnam. We needed something to go to war effectively against those electronic systems.
The EA-6B proved to be a phenomenally effective weapon system in that mission.
The EA-6B weighs in at 31,000 pounds. It is not equipped with the usual array of high explosive weapons for air to air, or air to ground attacks. It is, rather, packed with a variety of high flying electronic warfare systems to disrupt and jam the enemy’s electronic capabilities for detecting or attacking our aerial combat planes and the troops on the ground.
These electronic weapons systems include: 5 tactical jamming pods, electronic surveillance systems that allow them to intercept and listen into enemy communications, non-kinetic fire systems that leave enemy electronic equipment disabled but intact, and counter measure systems that mask the approach of nearby ground attack aircraft.
But the biggest weapon they have on board is something called the High Speed Anti-radiation Missile or HARM. With these traveling at 1,400 mph, they can take out enemy radar systems at long range distances. They are equipped with software that remembers where that radar placement was, even if the enemy turns off the radar in an attempt to protect it.
Here is a short video that shows what being launched by a catapult from an aircraft carrier looks like from the cockpit of an EA-6B.
One of my bucket list dreams is to experience a take off and landing on an aircraft carrier. That’ll never happen! Oh well. This is video is as close as I will get to that experience.
The Veterans Site sends it gracious thanks and deep respect to all those Navy and Marine Corps pilots and crews who flew and maintained the EA-6B prowlers over the 51 years of its lifetime.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.