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EA-6B Prowler

Primary function: Airborne Command and Control (C2W) support to Fleet Marine Forces to include electronic attack (EA), tactical electronic support (ES), electronic protection (EP) and high speed anti-radiation missile (HARM).
Manufacturer: Grumman Aircraft Corporation
Power plant: Two Pratt & Whitney J52-P408 turbofan engines
Thrust: 11,200 pounds (4,767 kilograms) per engine
Length: 59 feet (17.98 meters)
Height: 15 feet (4.57 meters)
Wing span: 53 feet (16.15 meters)
Speed: Maximum .99 mach; cruise .72 mach
Ceiling: 40,000 feet (12,186 meters)
Maximum takeoff weight: 61,500 pounds (27,921 kilograms)
Unrefueled in combat configuration: 850 nautical miles (977.5 miles)
Refueled: unlimited (crew fatigue factor - approximately 8 hours)
Armament: ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS); High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM)
Sensors: ALQ-99 On-board System (OBS)
Crew: 4
Introduction date: ICAP configuration, 1977; current ICAP II configuration, 1984
Unit Replacement Cost: $52,000,000

Mission: The EA-6B's ALQ-99 OBS is used to collect tactical electronic order of battle (EOB) data which can be disseminated through the command and control system while airborne, and which can be recorded and processed after missions to provide updates to various orders of battle. The ALQ-00 TJS is used to provide active radar jamming support to assault support and attack aircrtaft, as well as ground units. Additional suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) capability is available with the employment of HARM.

Features: Marine Prowlers may be land-based from prepared airfields, or they can operate from expeditionary airfields (EAF). They may also be sea-based, operating from aircraft carriers. Marine Prowlers are unique in their integration with the Tactical Electronic Processing and Evaluation System (TERPES). TERPES provides post-mission analysis of EA-6B ES data for reporting and updating orders of battle. It also provides post-mission analysis of jamming and HARM employment for reporting, assessing and storing mission data.

Inventory: Currently 20 (4 active squadrons).

Background: Following the transition from the EA-6A aircraft to the EA-6B, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 (VMAQ-2) continued to provide detachments to Carrier Air Wing Five on board the USS Midway. In 1980 VMAQ-2 completed its assignment aboard the Midway and began shore-based rotations with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Iwakuni, Japan. Detachments were subsequently sent back to sea duty aboard the USS Saratoga and USS America. Marine Prowlers supported joint operations against Libya in 1986 from the carrier.
During Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield VMAQ-2 had one detachment (six aircraft) deployed in Japan and the remainder of the squadron (12 aircraft) deployed to the Persian Gulf. The Reserve squadron, VMAQ-4 (six aircraft), transitioned from the EA-6A to the EA-6B and subsequently relieved the detachment in Japan. During Desert Shield the squadron flew 936 sorties for over 2100 hours. Marine Prowlers flew 495 combat missions totaling 1622 hours, supporting the full spectrum of joint and combined missions.
Effective Oct. 1, 1992, the Marine Prowler community reorganized its structure. VMAQS are now structured into four active force squadrons (VMAQ-1, 2, 3, 4). Each squadron now has at least five aircraft. This restructuring provides the flexibility necessary for continuing to support peacetime requirements, as well as the capacity to concurrently assign Marine EA-6B forces to commanders in different areas of operation. Current plans call for one squadron to be assigned to Carrier Airwing One in FY95, while the others continue to support the Unit Deployment Program and CINC contingency requirements.

Date last modified: 12/05/95

Last Modified on June 17, 1999