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EA-6B Prowler aircraft dedicated as permanent display at Crane

By NSWC Crane Public Affairs | Sept. 14, 2017

September 14, 2017

CRANE, Indiana - On Thursday, a Navy EA-6B Prowler aircraft was formally dedicated to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employees, who have provided 50 years of unwavering support, in a ceremony held at Naval Support Activity Crane.

The plane is now a permanent memorial display and symbolizes Crane’s Electronic Warfare (EW) roots dating back to 1971.

"The EA-6B Prowler had a distinguished history in the Navy and Marine Corps as the premier EW platform,” said NSWC Crane’s Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Oesterreich.   “This aircraft has seen action in almost every theater and, over the last decade, it is impossible to count the number of lives saved by the EA-6B during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

NSWC Crane employees have provided over 46 years of technical support to the Prowler’s ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System (TJS). The ALQ-99 TJS provides offensive electronic attack capabilities that enable the Prowler to shut down enemy air defenses and communications systems by jamming signals within the Radio Frequency (RF) electromagnetic spectrum.  NSWC Crane has the highest concentration of EW experts within the Department of Defense (DoD) and is responsible for research, development, engineering and maintenance of EW weapons systems. 

Prowlers have been a part of every military conflict involving U.S. and coalition aircrafts since 1971. The EA-18G Growler is the Navy’s replacement for the Prowler and will be the mainstay of the DoD Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capability into the 2030s, with NSWC Crane responsible for keeping the aircraft’s AEA systems effective and available.

“Crane's connection to the EA-6B goes back to 1971, when we first began to repair high power microwave traveling wave tubes for the ALQ-99 TJS, said NSWC Crane Electronic Warfare spokesman. “NSWC Crane has a proud legacy of airborne EW support and the future looks bright as we work with industry to develop the next generation of Airborne EW systems, such as the ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer.”

Oesterreich noted that the dedication and display of the Prowler are important to Crane’s workforce – past, present and future, “This is more than 40 years of our heritage,” he said.  “We’re proud of this milestone in Crane’s history.”

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Electronic Warfare, Strategic Missions and Expeditionary Warfare. The Warfare Center is responsible for Multi-domain, Multi- Spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s Warfighter.