Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Navy using radar-jamming planes to fire missiles in risky new strategy
Associated Press | March 30, 2003 | ROHAN SULLIVAN

Posted on 03/29/2003 11:37:36 PM PST by HAL9000

ABOARD THE USS KITTY HAWK (AP) - Slow-moving and packed with electronic equipment, the Prowler radar-jamming plane usually stays clear of battle. But with the campaign against Baghdad's defenses heating up, the Prowlers are joining in the strikes.

It's a risk for the vulnerable aircraft, but their crews say they've been eager to get into the fight.

"It's about time," said Lt. Doug Graber, an electronic warfare officer who was on a EA-6B Prowler that fired a missile Saturday -- the second strike by a Prowler from the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in two days.

Prowlers usually stay in the background of the battle, roaming the skies for hours and throwing down a broad blanket jamming radar on the ground to support the bomb-laden Navy and Air Force warplanes flying to their targets.

With four crew members in each plane and a top speed of 620 mph -- much slower than the supersonic strike fighters -- the craft is a more of a target for gunners on the ground.

Still, they carry a number of High Speed Anti-Radar Missiles, or HARMs. And they have been called on to use them as air strikes increase against the Iraqi Republican Guard units defending the capital ahead of an expected U.S.-led ground assault.

The Kitty Hawk's "Gauntlets" Prowler squadron fired its first HARM Friday night. It was a pre-planned strike, designed to protect two F/A-18 Hornets from a surface-to-air missile post near the fighters' assigned targets, said Lt. Rob Fluck, 27, who flew in both Friday and Saturday's missions.

The next day's strike was a surprise, said Fluck. While flying its standard radar-jamming mission, the Prowler got the order to fire in support of Hornets striking targets close to Baghdad.

"We kind of have a special mission, where we go out there and just kind of hang out in a place," the electronic warfare officer from Syracuse, N.Y., said. "Today we got tasked over the radio, `Hey, we need this here,' and we did it."'

Some squadron commanders have recently pushed for a greater share of the action over Iraq, said Graber, 30, from South Bound Brook, N.J.

"A lot of the worry is that they want to keep such a valuable jet away from any kind of threat," he said. "But we've gotten a lot more active lately."

The HARMs, which have a much smaller warhead than general purpose bombs, fix on a target after they have been dropped from a plane. On-board sensors search for radar "noise" and home in on the strongest signal, directing the missile toward the radar emission and detonating at the source. First built in the mid-1980s, HARMs were used extensively by NATO forces during the Kosovo conflict.

"We fire the missile out there and basically it is a pit bull just waiting for somebody to their arm out of leg out ... and it will sick right in on them," Fluck said.

But experts warn that HARMs are more likely to strike the wrong target than laser-guided bombs because the tracking system can become confused by heavy radar traffic or can hone in on the wrong radar frequency, including "friendly" emissions. Unlike laser-guided bombs, pilots do not steer HARMs onto their target.

Fluck said neither Prowler crew that fired on Friday or Saturday saw their missile hit.

The missile strikes bring the Prowler's role closer to that of the fighter and bombers pounding Iraqi targets to Baghdad's immediate south for more than a week. The barrage has targeted artillery, tanks, command posts and other targets of the Republican Guard to soften the approach for U.S. ground troops.

Carrier-based fighter pilots have been making the roughly 300-mile flight to the area, then getting targets from forward controllers and striking with laser-guided, satellite-guided and unguided bombs in missions lasting around three hours. The Prowlers generally spend about six hours flying around the same area during a radar-jamming mission.

Friday's missile was the first HARM the squadron had fired since 1997, said Lt. j.g. Brendan Sticks, 25, from Glen Rock, N.J., the pilot of Saturday's mission.

Sticks joined the squadron less than four weeks ago.

"He showed up here and listened to everybody complain about how we don't shoot HARM," said Graber. "He showed up and right away, here's the war and we're shooting HARM. He can't understand why we were all complaining."



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: harm; harmmissile; iraq; miltech; navy; prowler; radarjammers; saddamhussein; usskittyhawk; utah; warlist

1 posted on 03/29/2003 11:37:36 PM PST by HAL9000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: HAL9000; *war_list; W.O.T.; *miltech; 11th_VA; Libertarianize the GOP; Free the USA; knak; ...
Anyone got pictures?

OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

2 posted on 03/29/2003 11:54:50 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Saddam's days are numbered!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Here ya go.....

.......FRegards

3 posted on 03/30/2003 12:04:13 AM PST by gonzo (No sense in being pessimistic - it wouldn't work anyway.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: gonzo
Thanks!
4 posted on 03/30/2003 12:05:14 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Saddam's days are numbered!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000
In Gulf War 1,the EF111 lead the F117 into Baghdad.
5 posted on 03/30/2003 12:15:57 AM PST by noutopia
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gonzo
Howdy, Barry. Quick w/ that pic of the EA-6B. Prowler's been a strong Naval Air EW platform for several-mucho years. They were around when I was with A-4 SkyHawks and the "smokey" F-4 Phantom's. The later two aren't. Geeezzz...we're getting old. :-))

Best FReegards....John
6 posted on 03/30/2003 1:15:18 AM PST by Mustang (Evil Thrives When Good People Do Nothing!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000
Is this what the Navy calls a San Francisco Strategy -- Let the EA-6Bs become intimate with Saddam.

EA-6Bs, S-3s, KAs, CODs, who cares who drops the 2000 punder that gets him.
7 posted on 03/30/2003 2:02:51 AM PST by InABunkerUnderSF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; HAL9000
The United States Marines. Shooting HARMs since 1986.


8 posted on 03/30/2003 6:51:17 AM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

AGM-88 HARM (high-speed antiradiation missile)
9 posted on 03/30/2003 7:10:57 AM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Thu Mar 27, 9:33 AM ET

Lt. Jim Lockard, of Houston, Tx., checks out a AGM-88 HARM missile loaded on the wing of his EA-6B Prowler as he does a pre-flight check on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Gulf, Thursday March 27, 2003. The HARM missile is an air-to-surface weapon designed to seek out and destroy enemy radar-equipped air defense systems. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

10 posted on 03/30/2003 8:04:13 AM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000
Why is the AP using the pilots' full names?
11 posted on 03/30/2003 8:13:28 AM PST by SC Swamp Fox (Aim small, miss small.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000

the two pods out are for electronics,others afuel tank and a harm missile.

did anybody see the movie flight of the intruder?

12 posted on 03/30/2003 8:37:15 AM PST by green team 1999
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000
in risky new strategy...

Well, I suppose Tom Daschale is deeply saddened to learn this.

13 posted on 03/30/2003 8:40:50 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HAL9000
The next day's strike was a surprise, said Fluck. While flying its standard radar-jamming mission, the Prowler got the order to fire in support of Hornets striking targets close to Baghdad.

One could say Baghdad got "Flucked" on that mission.

14 posted on 03/30/2003 8:51:51 AM PST by lewislynn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SC Swamp Fox
The decision as to whether or not the full name gets published is left up to the individual being reported on.
15 posted on 03/30/2003 9:59:24 PM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson