The EW Situation Concerns Congressional Watchdog

The Government Accountability Office has released an updated review of the health of the military’s electronic warfare capabilities and concludes that the Air Force cancellation of its electric BUFF effort (see above) could force the Navy to upgrade more of its EA-6B Prowlers than it had planned. The Navy wants to replace the Prowlers, which have been the sole US airborne electronic attack platform since 1996 when USAF retired its F-4G and EF-111 aircraft, with an EA version of its F-18, dubbed the EA-18G Growler. GAO says that 90 EA-6Bs could cover Navy requirements through at least 2017, if “sufficient numbers” receive the ICAT III upgrades, however, the Navy would have to produce more ICAT III Prowlers if it must continue as the sole EW provider. GAO asks DOD to determine how many ICAP-Prowlers are needed to deal with the “existing and near-term capability gap” and procure them.