Electronic Weapons: EA-6B Takes on al Qaeda


June 17, 2007: The U.S. Navy has been stationing some of its EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft in Iraq, in order to use the extensive jamming and signal monitoring gear on these planes, to track enemy activity, and help defeat roadside bombs. Depending on how many carriers are in the area, there can be up to half dozen EA-6Bs in the air over Iraq at one time.

Over the last few years, the EA-6Bs have proved useful for all sorts of electronic warfare against the Iraqi terrorists. For example, the aircraft use their USQ-113 communications jammers to take control of terrorist communications. Department of Defense electronics warfare geeks found ways to use the jammer to do all sorts of things with radio, TV and cell phone signals. Working with psychological warfare and intelligence experts, the EA-6Bs have become key players in counter-terror operations. There's also a version of the USQ-113 that can be plugged into communications and sensor networks, making it easier to use the EA-6Bs in support of ground combat. Another useful feature of the ALQ-219 pod, allows the EA-6B to jam a small area (a single building or block). Sometimes, the barrage jamming also interferes with friendly communications.. The 27 ton EA-6Bs are not expected to last much beyond 2015 (they entered service in 1971) and will be replaced by the 29 ton EA-18G. The EA-6B carries a crew of four, the highly automated EA-18G will have only two people on board.


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