Based at MCAS Cherry Point, in North Carolina, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron 1 (VMAQT-1) is responsible for training of student pilots and electronics countermeasures officers destined to fly the EA-6B Prowler.
The unit, previously VMAQ-1 (Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1), was assigned the training role in 2013, when the U.S. Navy transition from the Prowler to the EA-18G Growler forced the Marine Corps to assume the responsibilities of “insourcing” training its EA-6B aircrews (previously trained by the USN at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington) in order to feed its squadrons until 2019.
Prowler training focuses on the U.S. Marine Corps aviation tasks: assault support, anti-aircraft warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles and aerial reconnaissance.
On Apr. 14, 2015 VMAQT-1 student pilots and electronics countermeasures officers took part in a training mission aimed at improving their skills to perform dynamic maneuvers while focusing on communication and radar jamming.
In this post you can find some stunning images taken from the cargo door of a C-130.
The EA-6Bs belong to the VMAQ-4, that deployed to Al Udeid, in Qatar, in August 2014.
Since they arrived in Qatar, the Prowlers have launched missions to Syria and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan.
In spite of their age, the aircraft are still valuable platforms capable to support any contingencies or operations which may need kinetic electronic attack: they can spot and identify enemy signals, jam radar emissions and radio communications as well as gather intelligence and pin-point enemy forces on the ground.
Still, the Prowler will probably be the last EW (Electronic Warfare) dedicated aircraft in USMC inventory: the Marines plan to retire the Prowler and replace it with the radar-evading F-35B which will be able to perform some EW roles by means of its AESA (Active Electronic Scanner Array) radar, used as a directional jammer.
In the meanwhile, the images in this post show some the Marine Corps Prowlers being refueled by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 on their way to one of the daily missions over Afghanistan.
Shot by aircrews of the VAQ-132 Scorpions of the U.S. Navy between 2011 and 2012, the following awesome video brings you along the Military Training Routes in Washington State, where EA-18G Growlers train for terrain masking.
I wonder which were the weather conditions (and, in particular, the visibility) when the EA-18G depicted in the following image landed from a flight during massive snow storm at Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan.
The Growler belongs to the Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 that is finishing up a six-month deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.
Australian minister for Defence Stephen Smith and minister for Defence Material Jason Clare have announced that the Australian Government has decided to acquire the “Growler” electronic warfare system for Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornet fleet of 24 jets.
The Growler system allows the Super Hornet to jam the electronic systems of aircraft and land based radar and communications.
The deal worth some 1.5 billion USD will mark out Australia as the only country outside of the U.S. to operate the EA-18G Growler system.
Of the 24 jets that Australia has procured, 12 are already wired for the Growler system: in May 2009, the Government announced its decision to wire half of its “Rhinos” (actually, this is the Super Hornet nickname within the U.S. Navy fighter pilot community) for potential conversion to the Growler configuration.
The Growlers will be operational from 2018, the purchase of the equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process.
Although Lockheed Martin officials have criticized the choice (since the F-35, that Australia is committed to buying in up to 100 examples, will have some advanced electronic warfare capabilities), with a fleet of 12 EA-18Gs the RAAF has opted for a small but extremely effective force capable to perform of Electronic Warfare/Electronic Attack as well as SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) missions, few other non-US nations can rely on.