Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prowler used to foil IEDs

Above: An EA-6B Prowler assigned to the "Black Ravens" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 135 launches off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz

A secret aircraft that debuted in Vietnam and usually protects U.S. fighter jets has taken on a different and crucial task over Iraq — trying to stop the scourge of roadside bombs by jamming ground signals from mobile phones and garage door openers.

The EA-6B Prowler is thought to be one of the most effective U.S. weapons against the bombs, the biggest killer of American service members in Iraq. But no one can be sure: Even supporters say its effectiveness is hard to measure.

The aircraft debuted at the tail end of Vietnam and was used in Kosovo and the 1991 Gulf War, escorting U.S. attack jets while jamming military radios, hostile radars and air defense batteries aimed at them.

These days, the Prowler focuses its jammers on smaller signals: those of mobile phones and garage door openers that are used to trigger roadside bombs in Iraq, said Navy Capt. David Woods, 49, of Ogden, Utah.

Read the rest at Navy Times