Sticking to the Plan:

The Navy’s plans haven’t changed when it comes to the future airborne electronic attack architecture, the sea service top uniformed officer said March 25. Indeed, the sea service still eyes EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft only to support carrier air wings and not for use in expeditionary roles, Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, told the Defense Writers Group yesterday in Washington, D.C. “Our program has us buying to the carrier requirement and I look to the Air Force to fulfill the standoff jamming capability,” he said. “I think that is the plan that … has to be pursued.” As things now stand, the US military’s AEA architecture is projected to have some capability gaps next decade once EA-6B Prowlers retire and until the Air Force fields a standoff jamming capability such as the Core Component Jammer. There has been talk about perhaps using Growlers at least in the interim to support joint strike packages and not just the carrier air wings to fill any gaps. But Roughead said the Navy’s current Growler buy is sized to provide for the carrier air wings and pulling them away from that role would leave them then with a capability gap.