Posts tagged ‘electronic warfare’

FRIDAY FOTO (August 30, 2019)

Calm Before the Storm.

FRIFO 8-30-2019 NAVY carrier catapult launch

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Singley)

Seaman Francisco Romero operates a catapult as an EA-18G Growler is launched off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the Arabian Sea, on August 27, 2019. The Growler is an electronic attack aircraft.  A variant of Boeing’s F-18F Super Hornet jet fighter, the Growler provides tactical communications jamming and suppression of enemy air defenses.

Click here to see a brief video from the pilot’s point of view of an F/A-18 Hornet’s launch from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. This longer video (9 minutes) shows another Hornet launch plus the catapult preparation and launch of an EA-6B Prowler, the Growler’s predecessor. Here’s a CBS piece on the Abraham Lincoln after the flat top completed a four-year, $4 billion makeover in 2017.

Currently, all U.S. aircraft carriers use a steam-powered catapult accelerate planes and some drones (See FRIDAY FOTO August 23, 2019) off the flight deck.  The Navy is replacing steam power with an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) on the next generation of carriers, known as the Ford class. However, there were problems with EMALS on the first ship of the class, the USS Gerald Ford, prompting President Donald Trump to call for a return to steam power.

August 30, 2019 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO: March 11, 2016

Prowler Posse.

FRIFO 3-11-2016 Prowlers

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jodson B. Graves

Four EA-6B Prowler aircraft conduct an aerial refuel and formation flight near Marine Corps Station Cherry Point, North Carolina on March. 1, 2016.

The flight was the first time in several years that all 4 EA-6B Prowler squadrons flew together. The Prowler is an electronic warfare airplane that can confuse an enemy’s radar,  disrupting their air defenses.

March 11, 2016 at 1:51 am Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: War in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Silent Attack

Sailors maneuver an E/A-18G Growler aircraft assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 141 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in 2011.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman K. Cecelia Engrums)

Sailors maneuver an E/A-18G Growler aircraft assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 141 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman K. Cecelia Engrums)

A flight of Israeli warplanes swoop in over northern Syria and destroy a suspected nuclear weapon manufacturing site without being noticed until their bombs are dropping on the facility. How? The Israelis have never admitted it, but news accounts revealed that Israeli technicians jammed Syrian anti-aircraft radar and brought down the computer system that operated it.

A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant on patrol in Afghanistan carries a backpack with an odd-shaped antenna, that looks like an old umbrella that’s had its canopy stripped away. The weird looking device is actually a radio signal jammer that keeps would-be roadside bombers from detonating their booby traps by pushing a button on a mobile phone.

A U.S. unmanned aircraft flies near Iranian airspace and then disappears. Iran says it brought down the top secret drone using electronic warfare technology that overrode the commands issued by the drone’s controllers. The Pentagon says the UAV crashed.

What do these disparate technologies have in common? They’re all forms of electronic warfare, the growing defense sector that uses the electromagnetic spectrum – or directed energy – as a weapon to jam an enemy’s systems, confuse defenders or maybe even take over control of an enemy’s technology.

You can read more of my story at the website of the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, which will conduct an Electronic Warfare Summit March 18-20 in the Washington area. For details click here.

February 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

LIBYA: U.S. Response — So Far (UPDATE)

Debating a Libyan ‘No Fly Zone”

The heads of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps confirmed today that two Navy amphibious warfare ships with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have been stationed in the Mediterranean Sea close enough to Libya to take action if ordered by the White House.

Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, said 400 Marines of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment have joined troops of the 26th MEU aboard the the U.S.S. Kearsarge and the U.S.S. Ponce. But he and Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, said no plans for an immediate intervention have been made. In fact, they both pointed  out the logistical difficulties in imposing a No Fly Zone over Libya at a Senate hearing.

The USS Kearsarge and her V-22 helicopters. (U.S. Navy photo by Paul Farley)

Answering questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Amos said the ships are equipped with AV-8B Harrier jump jets, attack and cargo helicopters, including V-22 Osprey tilt rotor helos, and landing craft.

Roughead, added that the vessels are equipped with missiles that can strike land targets, as well as medical teams and operating room facilities. “They’re quite well-loaded with humanitarian assistance supplies,” Roughead told the panel.

Amos said the ships and Marines are equipped to handle everything from “a raid, an amphibious assault to non-combat evacuation.”

But both commanders were reluctant to say creating a No Fly Zone over Libya would be relatively easy. The U.S. and other western nations as well as the United Nations and Arab states are divided over the wisdom of a No Fly Zone, according to Reuters.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the committee got Amos to acknowledge Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi’s air defenses are “modest.” The top Marine said the “greatest threat” was probably Libyan helicopters. McCain, who along with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut), has been advocating imposition of a No Fly Zone to prevent Qaddafi’s forces from attacking rebels and civilians in the eastern part of the country. The CBC and others report air attacks have blunted advances by rebels seeking to to topple Qaddafi, who has ruled Libya for more than 40 years.

McCain prodded Amos into confirming that Qaddafi’s air defense systems were mostly older Soviet-style surface-to-air missiles, at four air bases in and around the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

But Amos said success for the warring Libyan parties relies on more than control of the airspace. “I think it’s more than aviation. It’s complicated,” Amos said.

A Harrier descending for a landing. (USMC photo By Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon)

No one is saying a No Fly Zone is uncomplicated,” Lieberman during his turn questioning the Navy and Marine Corps leaders.

Roughead said there was no military-to-military communication between the U.S. and the Libyan rebels. He added that the aircraft aboard the Kearsarge and Ponce do not have the electronic warfare (EW) technology like that can jam Libyan air defense systems. The closest ship with EW-equipped aircraft is the carrier U.S.S. Enterprise currently in the Red Sea and there are no plans to shift the Big E to the Mediterranean, he said.

Roughead added that the Pentagon was monitoring the Libyan situation closely. Asked if the U.S. was flying round-the-clock surveillance flights over Libya, he replied: “We have been monitoring the fighting through a variety of means.

Before any action could take place, Roughead said a number of questions would have to be answered, such as what forces would be used to maintain the No Fly Zone, where would they be based and what were the rules of engagement. “We’ve done No Fly Zones before,” said the CNO, adding: “Significant infrastructure is required.”

Although the Senate last week unanimously passed a non-binding resolution calling on the United Nations Security Council to impose a No Fly Zone, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been reluctant to get the U.S. military involved in another Middle Eastern country’s internal affairs.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia), a former Navy Secretary in the Reagan administration, said today that he agreed with Gates’ concerns. “I, for one, think it’s not a good idea to give weapons and support to people you don’t know,” he  said.

March 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm Leave a comment


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