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USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 3:15:43 AM   
DWReese

 

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Does anyone have any info on what the USMC has replaced their EA-6 EW with? From everything that I have read, the last EA-6 flew late last year (2018), and I can't seem to find anything that has replaced it. I've seen studies that indicated that it might be replaced by Growlers, and I've also seen some reports that it is going to be replaced by F-35s. But, I haven't seen any news at all about what has been taking their place since late 2018, if anything at all.

Thanks in advance.

Doug
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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 4:55:56 AM   
Dragon029


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The USMC is replacing the EA-6B with the F-35B, which entered service with the USMC in 2015. The F-35's AESA allows it to deliver about 10x more jamming power onto a target than the EA-6B could, although this power is reportedly limited to the X-band. The F-35 also has an ALE-70 towed decoy / jammer, but nothing is known about what bands it's meant to target (though it'd have to at least primarily target the bands used by missile seekers, which are typically X band or Ka / K / Ku band). The F-35 also has cyber warfare capabilities that the EA-6B may or may not have (not much is known about programs like Suter).

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 2:04:32 PM   
DWReese

 

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Thanks for the info. It is very informative. But, have these F-35s actually replaced them as of yet, or is this something that has just been proposed?

Doug

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 2:57:48 PM   
De Savage

 

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F-35 podded ECMs are still uder testing. After few years there might be some updated platforms.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 3:28:07 PM   
Sharana


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DWReese

I can't seem to find anything that has replaced it


Because it's not getting replaced by anything as of right now. In the future there might be EW version of F-35 or UAV will take over the jamming part.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-marines-in-market-for-reaper-sized-uas-406099/

For the time being tho there are only Navy Growlers that cab get the job done.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 4:07:52 PM   
Primarchx


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Last I heard was that implementation of an active EW system on USMC F-35Bs was an issue, especially if it was meant to hold systems in the bay (due to heat generation). I'd like to see a UAV tasked, but that has its' own issues.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/21/2019 6:00:39 PM   
DWReese

 

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To all,

It would seem that the USMC would keep the EA-6s in service until a replacement platform was in place.

I just conducted a "test" using the same set of planes (USMC Hornets) attacking the same enemy. The only difference was the inclusion of a Growler (or Intruder) with one and not the other.

The one with the Growler completely confused the enemy HQ-9A SAMs.

The SAMs would launch, but quickly lose their track. If you tried to manually fire them you would usually get a message indicating that their is "insufficient data." That's perfect because it really shows off the importance of the Growler.

Just for fun, I swapped out the Growler for an RA-6 Intruder. The results weren't nearly as good, but it was still somewhat productive.

Then, I tried the same attack without the Growler or Intruder. Two-thirds of the attackers were shot down. This really shows the effectiveness of the OECM aircraft.

Which brings me back to why the USMC would dump the EA-6 if they didn't have a replacement already lined up. I suppose that they can borrow some assistance from the navy by using the Growlers to assist.

Doug

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 10:30:05 AM   
Dragon029


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Primarchx

Last I heard was that implementation of an active EW system on USMC F-35Bs was an issue, especially if it was meant to hold systems in the bay (due to heat generation). I'd like to see a UAV tasked, but that has its' own issues.


An EW system wouldn't go in the weapon bays; Terma has teamed up with someone to work on a "cyber attack pod" that uses the same pod shell as the external gun pod, but we haven't heard anything on that since 2015.

The NGJ was also originally intended to go onto both the Growler and F-35 (the F-35 has similar, if not superior [having a bigger AESA and the burn-through distance advantage due to low observability] EW capability to the Growler if you were to exclude the use of ALQ-99s / ALQ-249s) but F-35 integration was dropped due to budget and schedule issues with both the F-35 and NGJ. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if (after the ALQ-249 enters service), integration with the F-35 is added onto the (eg) Block 5 integration / upgrade wishlist.

Edit: If you want to read up on the F-35's EW capabilities, I've got a bunch of quotes, etc with sources here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dragon029/comments/6wpcyx/f35_electronic_warfare_quotes/

For example:

quote:

To make this happen, we planned to initially use electronic attack against the adversary F-16s, see if we could avoid having them detect friendly fighters and datalink the location of the hostile aircraft to our F-16s. This way we could use the F-16s on our side to shoot down the initial wave of enemy fighters and keep our own missiles available once the 'Blue Air' F-16s had to focus on their target attack. The plan worked flawlessly

quote:

Service sources said the Air Force was willing to absorb some loss of EC-130s because its new F-35s have an inherent EW capability that will match or exceed what the EC-130s offer. Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, frequently points out that the Marine Corps plans to use a standard F-35, without any external jamming pods, as its EA-6B replacement.

quote:

While F-35 is capable of stand-off jamming for other aircraft — providing 10 times the effective radiated power of any legacy fighter — F-35s can also operate in closer proximity to the threat (‘stand-in’) to provide jamming power many multiples that of any legacy fighter.

quote:

And rather than the familiar sweeping cone, the F-35’s beam is more like a laser, able to focus on a specific target or on multiple targets (the exact number is classified) with ten times the power of an EA-6B Prowler, he says. Furthermore, a formation of four F-35s can alternate transmission of the jamming signal among themselves, again automatically.

quote:

In a series of tests at Edwards AFB, Calif., in 2009, Lockheed Martin's CATbird avionics testbed - a Boeing 737 that carries the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's entire avionics system - engaged a mixed force of F-22s and Boeing F-15s and was able to locate and jam F-22 radars, according to researchers.



< Message edited by Dragon029 -- 2/22/2019 10:35:28 AM >

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 11:46:56 AM   
DWReese

 

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Those are some interesting quotes and some interesting data concerning the F-35, for sure. Thanks for digging them up.

It still makes you wonder why they would dump the EA-6 if the F-35 wasn't ready to assume a role as a jamming aircraft.

Doug

(in reply to Dragon029)
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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 1:56:49 PM   
Tailhook

 

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Did you try running your scenario with the same # of airborne F-35s providing on axis jamming? Just because it doesn’t have a pod doesn’t mean you can’t chexk the OECM box using the AESA. I also don’t know where you’re getting that it isn’t ready for the role. There are numerous USMC F-35B squadrons already spun up.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 2:23:53 PM   
DWReese

 

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Tailhook,

No, I have not tried to turn on the OECM for the F-35. I didn't have them in that attack. I was using USMC Hornets which had been previously escorted by EA-6s. But, those have been retired, so I figured that something would come along. Anyway, that's a good suggestion using a F-35 and turning on its OECM.

My original question pertained to the EA-6 being retired, but no replacement has officially been named. The squadron (well 6 EA-6s) were retired late last year, and I was wondering what became of the squadron, or what the USMC was planning on doing since the Intruders were being retired. I guess what I was expecting to see was a new USMC squadron of F-35s dedicated to that specific role which would be as effective (if not more so) than the Growler.

I'm aware that the USMC has started flying the F-35s. I'm working on a scenario with them involved.

Thanks.

Doug

(in reply to Tailhook)
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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 2:24:53 PM   
Sharana


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tailhook

Did you try running your scenario with the same # of airborne F-35s providing on axis jamming? Just because it doesn’t have a pod doesn’t mean you can’t chexk the OECM box using the AESA. I also don’t know where you’re getting that it isn’t ready for the role. There are numerous USMC F-35B squadrons already spun up.


Jamming enemy radars in X band is only part of the "job". Not to mention that all fighters can use their radars for jamming - it's not AESA specific. What makes it actually useful (as such option can actually be viable) is that unlike PESA you can do both (jam and still keep a picture of the surroundings), but that doesn't make each AESA equipped fighter an EW platform.

< Message edited by Sharana -- 2/22/2019 2:25:59 PM >


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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 3:30:38 PM   
Tailhook

 

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I recognize that the F-35 is not being added to VMAQ-XXX. The VMAQs are being stood down and their pilots will transfer accordingly. The USMC is moving to an all F-35 fleet which has a very, very impressive EW suite including things you have mentioned. The Marines have run the analysis and felt that this was a worthwhile switch. Will they take a hit? Possibly. Is it as bad as you guys seem to think? No.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 4:59:05 PM   
DWReese

 

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Okay, I just ran the sim using one F-35 instead of the EA-6 or the Growler. Obviously, the Growler is the best, and the F-35 is much better than the EA-6, but it is different.

First, with the two actual jammers you get the word Jam or Jammed next t the aircraft. You on't get that with the F-35.

The F-35 wasn't able to mask the rest of the strike, but the enemy wasn't able to shoot at them either. I checked and it kept saying that it couldn't get a precise fix on the aircraft.

When the enemy finally did shoot, the target planes would turn slightly in the terminal phase and the enemy missile would go blind. Eventually, the missiles did strike home.

All-in-all, it wasn't a bad performance by the F-35, it was just different. It has better results, IMO, than the EA-6.

Doug

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 5:00:20 PM   
Primarchx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dragon029

quote:

ORIGINAL: Primarchx

Last I heard was that implementation of an active EW system on USMC F-35Bs was an issue, especially if it was meant to hold systems in the bay (due to heat generation). I'd like to see a UAV tasked, but that has its' own issues.


An EW system wouldn't go in the weapon bays; Terma has teamed up with someone to work on a "cyber attack pod" that uses the same pod shell as the external gun pod, but we haven't heard anything on that since 2015.

The NGJ was also originally intended to go onto both the Growler and F-35 (the F-35 has similar, if not superior [having a bigger AESA and the burn-through distance advantage due to low observability] EW capability to the Growler if you were to exclude the use of ALQ-99s / ALQ-249s) but F-35 integration was dropped due to budget and schedule issues with both the F-35 and NGJ. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if (after the ALQ-249 enters service), integration with the F-35 is added onto the (eg) Block 5 integration / upgrade wishlist. ...


I was providing info from Oct 2018 Combat Aircraft (p.33), which stated ... "Indeed, heat concerns are believed to have undermined previous plans to fit a bespoke version of the Raytheon system (NGJ) in the F-35B weapons bay for the US Marine Corps to facilitate an electronic attack EA-35."

There hasn't been a plethora of info replacing the EA-6B in the non-class world other than allusions that it would be done by some sort of implementation with the F-35 and/or UAV assets. I'll check out the reddit you reference. However there's a lot of discussion out there that gets the F-35's defensive EW capablities and it's suitability for offensive EW crosswired.

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/22/2019 10:37:46 PM   
Dragon029


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sharana

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tailhook

Did you try running your scenario with the same # of airborne F-35s providing on axis jamming? Just because it doesn’t have a pod doesn’t mean you can’t chexk the OECM box using the AESA. I also don’t know where you’re getting that it isn’t ready for the role. There are numerous USMC F-35B squadrons already spun up.


Jamming enemy radars in X band is only part of the "job". Not to mention that all fighters can use their radars for jamming - it's not AESA specific. What makes it actually useful (as such option can actually be viable) is that unlike PESA you can do both (jam and still keep a picture of the surroundings), but that doesn't make each AESA equipped fighter an EW platform.


I can't think of any fighters prior to the Super Hornet or F-22 being able to use their radars as jammers; can you give some examples? Most, like the legacy Hornet, F-15, F-16, etc use secondary systems with their own antennas and signal generators for jamming.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Primarchx

I was providing info from Oct 2018 Combat Aircraft (p.33), which stated ... "Indeed, heat concerns are believed to have undermined previous plans to fit a bespoke version of the Raytheon system (NGJ) in the F-35B weapons bay for the US Marine Corps to facilitate an electronic attack EA-35."

There hasn't been a plethora of info replacing the EA-6B in the non-class world other than allusions that it would be done by some sort of implementation with the F-35 and/or UAV assets. I'll check out the reddit you reference. However there's a lot of discussion out there that gets the F-35's defensive EW capablities and it's suitability for offensive EW crosswired.


Thanks for the lead; reading the article however it appears they were talking more about "equipment inside the pod, which is also thought to generate huge amounts of heat", rather than the F-35 bay's hot ambient temperatures (though that might have been an issue regardless if they didn't add a ventilation system or significant PAO coolant loop). It does certainly seem to be a strange method of integrating a jammer though, particularly when you're going to have to use a pod or other form of bulbous protrusion to fit the AESAs anyway.

< Message edited by Dragon029 -- 2/22/2019 10:52:09 PM >

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RE: USMC EW Aircraft - 2/24/2019 4:26:18 PM   
Primarchx


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Yeah, I was wondering how integrating a podded system to the bay would work. I wasn't thinking that the F-35's internal bay is incipiently hot, but that an EW system pumping out loads of electrons would tax the ability to moderate internal heat. Something like how EF-111 was done with ALQ-99 came to mind.

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