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Grumman EA-6 Prowler

Carrier-Borne Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA)

OVERVIEW
HISTORY
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
DATA
Overview



The Grumman EA-6B Prowler EWA aircraft was eventually succeeded in USN service by the newer Boeing EA-18G Growler line.
History



Detailing the development and operational history of the Grumman EA-6 Prowler Carrier-Borne Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA).  Entry last updated on 8/16/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
For a time in American naval aviation history, the Grumman EA-6 "Prowler" served as the United States Navy's lone Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA) platform, a role once relied on by the service through the United States Air Force's (USAF) General Dynamics EF-111 "Raven" land-based, swing-wing aircraft. The EA-6 originally emerged from a United States Marine Corps (USMC) requirement during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) as a support aircraft and this begat a platform born from the existing Grumman A-6 Intruder line of carrier-based strike aircraft - thus, with its specialized equipment in place, the new aircraft was able to retain all of the excellent carrier-operating traits of the original.

The USMC used the new EA-6 to replace its aged stock of Douglas F3D "Skynights" in the same EWA role and originally appeared under the designation of "A2F-1H" in following the pre-1962 USN designation convention (until later redesignated to the more familiar "EA-6A"). A prototype (two were built) first flew on April 26th, 1963 and retained the original two-man, side-by-side crew of the A-6 strike platform - the key identifying feature of the mark was the pod fitted at the vertical tail fin containing the necessary antenna equipment. Other installations included the AN/APQ-129 Fire Control Radar (FCR) and the AN/APN-153 navigation radar system. The USMC received some 28 of the aircraft of which fifteen of these were new-builds from Grumman and eleven converted from existing A-6A production models. EA-6As served throughout the Vietnam War up until their drawdown around 1970 and the mark was formally retired in 1990.

Then followed the EA-6B which became a much more specialized EW platform. Its fuselage was lengthened some to accommodate two additional EWA officers in rear, side-by-side cockpits. The vertical tail fin housed the antenna pod as usual and the FCR and navigation system were all-modern implements. Signal jammers were added as underwing pods and the canopy covered over in a gold film so as to protect the crew from any harmful emissions from their external electronic equipment. Development of this mark began in 1966 and a first flight was recorded on May 25th, 1968, leading to formal introduction in 1971 and quickly replacing old Douglas "Skywarriors" for the USN in the same EWA role. The USN/USMC procured a total of 170 EA-6B Prowlers in all, these aircraft seeing service over Vietnam, during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and across the 1999 Balkans campaign. Its last recorded sorties have been over Afghanistan and Iraq following the U.S.-led invasions of both countries - used in the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) jamming role. Over its service life, some forty EA-6 airframes were lost though none to direct enemy action.

The EA-6B model variant was cleared to field the potent AGM-88 "HARM" anti-radar missile suitable for taking out signal-emitting enemy radar installations. Additionally, the 5 external hardpoints were plumbed to carry 300 gallon droppable fuel tanks for increased operational ranges. The fuel tanks could be supplanted on four of the five hardpoints with jamming pods as well for a broader tactical reach over the battlefield. An external (and static/fixed) in-flight refueling probe (retained from the A-6 design) was also provided at the center-front of the cockpit windshield, positioned exactly between the pilot and front-seated electronic warfare officer. The available hardpoints could manage stores up to 18,000lb in all - typically including 2 x AGM-88 HARM missiles.

The EA-6B was driven by 2 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P408A turbojet engines developing 10,400lb thrust each. Maximum speed was 650 miles per hour with a cruising speed of 480 miles per hour. Range was out to 2,400 miles with external fuel stores while the rate-of-climb was 12,900 feet per minute with a service ceiling up to 37,600 feet.

Service of the Prowler is now more limited than ever after the 2009 introduction of the Boeing EA-18G "Growler", an EWA platform based on the F/A-18F "Super Hornet" multirole fighter line.




Program Updates

February 2019 - United States Marine Corps squadron VMAQ-2 have retired the last of their EA-6B Prowlers. Deactivation occurred on March 8th, 2019 completing over 40 years of service.




Specifications

YEAR: 1963
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Grumman / Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation - USA
PRODUCTION: 197
CREW: 4
LENGTH: 58.07 ft (17.7 m)
WIDTH: 52.17 ft (15.9 m)
HEIGHT: 16.08 ft (4.9 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 33,356 lb (15,130 kg)
MTOW: 61,509 lb (27,900 kg)
POWER: 2 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408A turbojet engines developing 10,400 lb of thrust each.
SPEED: 652 mph (1,050 kph; 567 kts)
CEILING: 37,730 feet (11,500 m; 7.15 miles)
RANGE: 2,022 miles (3,254 km; 1,757 nm)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 12,900 ft/min (3,932 m/min)
OPERATORS: United States (retired)
Armament



Mission-Specific. May Include:

4 x AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation air-to-surface missiles.
5 x ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS) mission pods.
5 x 300 gallon jettisonable fuel drop tanks.
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-radar/anti-radiation missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank
Variants / Models



• A-6 "Intruder" - Carrierbased Strike Aircraft used throughout the Vietnam War and beyond; airframe basis for the Prowler series.
• EA-6A "Electric Intruder" - Conversion of two-seat A-6 Intruder strike aircraft; debuted in Vietnam Conflict; entered service in 1963.
• EA-6B - Refined and dedicated electronic warfare platform; lengthened fuselage for 4-seat cockpit compartment; fitted with noticeable fin tip antenna bulb; AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile support; entered service in 1971.








Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (652mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
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  LAX
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Grumman EA-6B Prowler's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (197)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
197
197

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.




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