Penetrating Electronic Attack May Come Before Counter-Air Platform

Gen. Hawk Carlisle thinks the Air Force’s nascent Penetrating Electronic Attack aircraft may actually go operational before the Penetrating Counter-Air platform that will notionally succeed or complement the F-22 and F-35 in the air superiority role. The Air Combat Command chief, speaking with defense reporters on Friday, said the PEA, which he described as a “partnership platform” with the F-22, F-35, and B-21 bomber, could be “autonomous or semi-autonomous” and escort strike aircraft going into the most heavily defended enemy airspace as a stand-in jammer. The Navy, he reiterated, has a need to do a different kind of electronic warfare, and USAF and the Navy are working out who will do what with regards to electronic warfare through the Joint Air Dominance Organization, set up to apportion such roles and missions. Carlisle said he’d like both the PCA and PEA programs to “move to the left,” meaning appear in service earlier than now planned. “Sooner would be better,” he added, noting the electronic combat environment is getting “intense.”