Electronic Weapons: March 27, 2000


After the Gulf War, the U.S. disbanded many of its electronic warfare (EW) aircraft units, leaving the navy's ancient EA-6 EW planes to carry the load for the air force and navy. The air force has proposed a novel solution, using some of the enormous load capacity of the B-52 bombers to create the worlds largest electronic warfare aircraft. While it would take three years to equip, test and train the crews of three EB-52s, it would fill a widening gap in EW capability. There are only 90 EA-6Bs to support world wide EW needs. Since B-52s can quickly fly to any hot spot in the world, they are more deployable than EA-6Bs. In five years, there could be five EB-52s in service. The program would cost up to half a billion dollars. 


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