EA-6B Prowler

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Product Type:

Electronic Attack Fighter Aircraft

Using Service (US):

Navy (retired) and Marine Corps

Program Status:

Sustainment - to be retired in FY 2019

Prime Contractor:

Northrop Grumman Corporation

The EA-6B Prowler

About the EA-6B Prowler:

The Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler is a 4-seat twin-engine tactical jamming aircraft, which has been in service with the U.S. Navy since January 1971. The Prowler is a derivative of the Grumman A-6 Intruder attack aircraft (in service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from 1963 to 1997), equipped with a computer-controlled electronic surveillance and control system and high-power jamming transmitters contained in five externally mounted AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Jamming Pods.

The Prowler is powered by two Pratt & Whitney J52-P408A turbojet engines, each providing 10,400 pounds of thrust. The EA-6B has a four-man crew consisting of one pilot and three electronic countermeasures officers. The aircraft is equipped with the AN/APS-130 multimode radar system.

After 34 years of service and more than 11,000 flight hours, the first EA-6B was retired on June 10, 2011. On November 14, 2014, the EA-6B completed its last carrier deployment. The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), however, will continue to operate the aircraft for years to come. The final phasing out of the EA-6B is in progress although the aircraft is expected to be in the inventory at least until 2019

The Prowler is being replaced by the Boeing EA-18G Growler (Navy only platform). From 1998, with the retirement of the U.S. Air Force EF-111A Raven, until the arrival of the EA-18G, the Prowler was the only electronic attack aircraft in the U.S. military aircraft inventory. Since 1998, the Air Force has not had a dedicated electronic warfare aircraft, relying on stealth rather than jamming to deceive enemy radar.

As part of carrier air wings, the EA-6B operated from the Navy's fleet of Nimitz Class aircraft carriers. A carrier air wing had four EA-6B models or five EA-18Gs.

Northrop Grumman performs engineering work on EA-6B Prowlers at its Bethpage, New York facility, where the EA-6B program is headquartered. The company performs depot level maintenance, as well as other upgrades and modifications. Northrop Grumman is currently upgrading the Prowler with the Improved Capability III (ICAP III) block upgrades at its facility in St. Augustine, Florida. Specifically, the modification program replaces the AN/ALQ-99 Receiver System with the AN/ALQ-218, replaces the AN/TDY-43 display system with a new Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) based display system, upgrades the Recorder Reproducer Set with a new Digital Recorder, incorporates the Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal (MATT) to provide reception of data links, incorporates the AN/USQ-113 Communication Receiver/Jammer with the AN/ALQ-218, updates mission planning for ICAP III to Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS), and incorporates Link-16 to include basic electronic warfare battle management capabilities.

The projected USMC active inventory is 20 ICAP III aircraft in FY 2017. The designated service life is 12,500 flight hours with an average of 3,450 flight hours remaining per aircraft.


The EA-6B can be armed with four AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface anti-radiation missiles and carries up to five AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Jamming Pods.


The mission of the EA-6B aircraft is to provide an airborne electronic attack capability that is able to tactically control, manage the electromagnetic environment and deny, degrade, deceive, and destroy enemy radar and communication capabilities in support of Navy (retired) and Marine Corps strike forces.

FY 2016 DoD Program:

The FY 16 Budget provides funds in the amount of $7.8 million for modifications, mainly the Improved Capability III (ICAP III) block upgrades.

FY 2017 DoD Program:

No funding provided for the EA-6B in the FY 17 Budget.

For more information, click to see the FY 2017 Navy EA-6B Modifications Budget.

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Northrop Grumman Corp.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2017 Budget

Last Update: June 27, 2016.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (kasper.oestergaard@forecast1.com)

External Resources:

Northrop Grumman: EA-6B Prowler
U.S. Marine Corps: EA-6B Prowler

Cobham: AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Jamming Pod

YouTube: EA-6B Prowler | YouTube Videos

Brochure: Northrop Grumman | EA-6B Prowler

EA-6B U.S. Defense Spending Charts:

DoD Spending on the EA-6B Prowler in FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017
DoD Purchases of EA-6B Prowler Aircraft in FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2013/14/15 + Budget for FYs 2016 + 2017

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the EA-6B Prowler

Download Official DoD Budget Documentation:

Modification of EA-6B Aircraft (NAVY)

Aircraft Specifications: EA-6B Prowler

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Primary Function: Electronic attack aircraft
Prime Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corp.
Power Plant: 2x Pratt & Whitney J52-P408A turbojet engines
Thrust: 10,400 pounds (each engine)
Wingspan: 53 ft (15.9 m)
Length: 59 ft 10 in (17.7 m)
Height: 16 ft 8 in (4.9 m)
Weight (Empty): 31,160 lbs (14,134 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 61,500 lbs (27,450 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 418 kts/481 mph (775 km/h); Max: 566 kts/651 mph (1,049 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 12,900 ft/min (65.53 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 37,600 ft (11,460 m)
Range: 1,000+ nm/1,150+ miles (1,840+ km)
Armament/Weapons: 4x AGM-88 HARM + 5x AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Jamming Pods
Crew: Four (pilot and three electronic countermeasures officers)
Price/Unit Cost: $52 million (FY 1998 constant dollars)
First Flight: May 25, 1968
Deployed: Initial Operational Capability (IOC): July 1971

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