Marine Corps Aerial Electronic Warfare into the Future
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING
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In future warfare, the struggle for information will play a central role, taking the place, perhaps, of the struggle for geographical position held in previous conflicts. Information superiority is emerging as a newly recognized, and more intense, area of competition. In the struggle for information on the battlefield, control of the electromagnetic spectrum has proven to be of extreme importance in modern conflicts. As forces enter into battle with more technologically advanced weapons, the reliance on the electromagnetic spectrum will only increase. The United States military, and the Marine Corps in particular, is lagging in developing its electronic warfare capability for the future. This choice may jeopardize its ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum in future conflicts. This negligence has caused the Marine Corps to fail to solidify a viable follow on platform to the aging EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1979. Now that the EA-6B is approaching the end of its service life, the Air Force and the Navy have both made announcements regarding the direction in which their EW programs are heading. The Navy has decided to acquire an electronic attack version of the FA-18 EF Super Hornet, designated the EA-18G. The Air Force is moving toward a program consisting of multiple platforms. Being considered are B-52 and F-22 aircraft with jamming pods and unmanned aircraft, with the focus of effort being an electronic warfare variant of the X-45 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles UCAVs. The Marine Corps intends to fly the Prowler until 2015. There are several options to replace the aging fleet of Prowlers. As already mentioned, the X-45 UCAV and the EA-18G are possibilities currently in different stages of development. Another option for the Marine Corps may be an electronic attack EA variant of the Joint Strike Fighter JSF. Each replacement option has different advantages and disadvantages.
- Attack and Fighter Aircraft
- Pilotless Aircraft