On the morning of Tuesday, May 5, a Navy EA-6B Prowler aircraft performed flyovers of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane in route to the Monroe County Airport in Bloomington, Indiana for the final flight of this particular aircraft. A ceremony was held on the tarmac to celebrate the arrival of the retiring Prowler, scheduled to be transported to NSA Crane to become a historical static display. The EA-6B was accompanied by the EA-18G Growler, slated to take over the electronic warfare mission of the Prowler for the Navy.
Remarks were offered by Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Elder, EA-6B Deputy Program Manager Maj. Mark Amspacher and NSWC Crane Spectrum Warfare Systems Department Director Janna Foxx.
Amspacher stated, “The EA-6B Prowler has a long and distinguished history as the Naval Services’ primary Electronic Warfare platform. The EA-6B was never the airplane that garnered all of the attention at air shows or received the appreciation it deserved from the beginning, but over time its mission and criticality to the fleet was recognized. Following Operation Allied Force, the Prowler was demanded by component commanders in almost every theater and, over the last decade, it is impossible to know how many lives the EA-6B has helped to save during recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
NSWC Crane employees have provided over 40 years of technical support to the Prowler’s ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS). The ALQ-99 TJS provides offensive electronic attack capabilities that enable the Prowler to shut down enemy air defenses and communications systems by jamming signals within the RF electromagnetic spectrum. NSWC Crane has the highest concentration of electronic warfare experts within the Department of Defense (DoD) and is responsible for research, development, engineering and maintenance of electronic warfare weapons systems.
Prowlers have participated in every military conflict involving U.S. and coalition aircraft since 1971. The EA-18G will be the mainstay of the DoD Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capability into the 2030s, with NSWC Crane keeping the aircraft’s AEA systems effective and available.
Former EA-6B Program Manager Captain John Green is quoted as saying, “The need for electronic warfare is the highest it has ever been and Crane’s ability to deliver the technology that saves warfighter lives is more important than ever. When the Navy needs electronic warfare, Crane answers the call.”
NSWC Crane Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Elder noted that the arrival of the Prowler and its upcoming display are important to Crane’s workforce– past, present and future. “This is more than 40 years of our heritage,” he stated. “We’re proud to make this happen.”
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Special Missions, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The Warfare Center is responsible for Multi-domain, Multi- Spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s Warfighter.