The Prowler is a fully integrated electronic warfare system combining long-range, all-weather capabilities with advanced electronic countermeasures. A forward equipment bay and pod-shaped fairing on the vertical fin house the additional avionics equipment. It has been the primary electronic warfare aircraft for the U.S Navy and U.S. Marine Corps since 1975.
After the 1998 retirement of the United States Air Force EF-111 “Raven,” the Prowler became the only dedicated electronic warfare plane available for missions until the fielding of the Navy’s EA-18G Growler.
The EA-6B’s primary mission is to support ground-attack strikes by disrupting enemy electromagnetic activity. As a secondary mission, it can also gather tactical electronic intelligence within a combat zone, and attacking enemy radar sites with anti-radiation missiles.
“It’s a very fascinating aspect of the aircraft, knowing that we cause a lot of grief with the enemy’s communication,” said Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Smith, a maintenance control chief with VMAQ-2.
The Prowler has been involved in many operations over the years such as: the Vietnam War, the Invasion of Grenada, Operation Praying Mantis, Operation Desert Storm and many others.
But the Prowler’s reign will soon come to an end.
“The Prowler is going away you’re looking at 60’s and 70’s technology; it’s an older aircraft,” said Col. David A. Suggs, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
Story by Lance Cpl. George Melendez