The Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman) EA-6B Prowler is a twin-engine, four-seat, mid-wing electronic-warfare aircraft derived from the A-6 Intruder airframe.
Role Electronic warfare/Attack aircraft
First flight 25 May 1968
Introduction July 1971
Retired March 2019, U.S. Marine Corps
Primary users United States Navy (historical)
United States Marine Corps (historical)
Number built 170
Developed from Grumman A-6 Intruder
he Northrop Grumman (formerly Grumman) EA-6B Prowler is a twin-engine, four-seat, mid-wing electronic-warfare aircraft derived from the A-6 Intruder airframe. The EA-6A was the initial electronic warfare version of the A-6 used by the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy. Development on the more advanced EA-6B began in 1966. An EA-6B aircrew consisted of one pilot and three Electronic Countermeasures Officers, though it was not uncommon for only two ECMOs to be used on missions. It was capable of carrying and firing anti-radiation missiles (ARMs), such as the AGM-88 HARM.
The Prowler was in service with the U.S. Armed Forces from 1971 until 2019. It has carried out numerous missions for jamming enemy radar systems, and in gathering radio intelligence on those and other enemy air defense systems. From the 1998 retirement of the United States Air Force EF-111 Raven electronic warfare aircraft, the EA-6B was the only dedicated electronic warfare plane available for missions by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Air Force until the fielding of the Navy’s EA-18G Growler in 2009. Following its last deployment in late 2014, the EA-6B was withdrawn from U.S. Navy service in June 2015, followed by the USMC in March 2019
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In 2008, the USMC investigated an electronic attack role for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II to replace their Prowlers. The Marines began retiring the EA-6 in 2016 and replaced them with the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Electronic Warfare (MAGTF-EW) concept, which calls for a medium to high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle to off-load at least some of the electronic warfare mission.
In November 2018, VMAQ-2 returned from performing the final deployed operations of USMC Prowlers. The Marines retired the aircraft on 8 March 2019, with some placed in storage and on static display at the Smithsonian Institution Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia and the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field
The Advanced Capability EA-6B Prowler (ADVCAP) was a development program initiated to improve the flying qualities of the EA-6B and to upgrade the avionics and electronic warfare systems. The intention was to modify all EA-6Bs into the ADVCAP configuration, however the program was removed from the Fiscal Year 1995 budget due to financial pressure from competing Department of Defense acquisition programs.
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