Congress wants new tactical electronic warfare aircraft for the US Air Force

It was in 1998 that the last electronic warfare EF-111A Raven was withdrawn from service with the US Air Force, without any replacement having been planned for this purpose. However, the aircraft fulfills many and crucial missions, in particular to neutralize the detection and engagement capabilities of Iraqi air defenses during the First Gulf War, and to allow tactical aircraft, and in particular the F117 stealth aircraft, to d 'operate safely. Convinced of the all-powerful passive stealth of its F-22s and the future F-35A, the US Air Force did not consider it necessary to replace this capability, it is really expensive and very complex. The US Navy, for its part, decided to design a version dedicated to electronic warfare on the basis of the F / A 18 F Super Hornet, designated EA-18G Growler, in order to take over from its EA-6 Prowlers arrived in end of race. The fact is, as long as the interventions were limited to the skies little disputed Iraqi or Afghan, the choice of the USAF seemed to be justified. On the other hand, when in April 2018, the B-1, F-15 and F-16 of the US Air Force had to strike the Syrian chemical installations, it was to the venerable EA-6 Prowler of the US Navy that it called to accompany its planes in the Syrian sky vis-a-vis the anti-aircraft defenses of the regime of Bashar Al Assad.

It is on the basis of this deficiency that the American representatives proposed, on the occasion of the study of the 2022 budget of the Pentagon, to allocate a line of appropriations in order to finance the study and the transformation of hunters of the 'US Air Force for carry and use the new ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer pod, or NGJ, currently under development by Raytheon for the US Navy EA-18 Growler, so as to give back to all the US air forces the ability to intervene in highly contested environments, in particular in the face of integrated multi-layered anti-air defenses such as for Russia or China, especially since these systems now have passive radars and radars in the UHF and VHF band capable of detecting American stealth planes, even at great distances, as well as of engaging them either by surface-to-air missiles or by guiding the interceptors responsible for eliminating this threat. In other words, Passive Stealth as implemented on the F22 and F35, vaunted so much across the Atlantic for nearly 3 decades, no longer represents sufficient protection to be able to operate in contested airspace. The use of Active Stealth, that is to say of powerful airborne jamming systems, is essential.

The EF-111A Raven was withdrawn from US Air Force service in 1998 with no replacement expected, at a time when passive stealth was seen as almost absolute protection against enemy air defenses. .

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