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Secret testing grounds: Airborne electronic warfare comes of age in Libya

The Defence IQ Airborne Electronic Warfare Infographic

The EW AORBAT (electronic warfare air order of battle) – in any strike scenario – is plagued by complexity. EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler crews must, at all times, maintain complete situational awareness of the strike picture (and the threat picture), even as it ‘flexes’ in the real time threat environment. Libya has proven to be a significant testing ground for recent Growler developments and this infographic attempts to deconstruct the AEW strike mission in bite size chunks.

Click on the image above to enlarge.

Moving from top to bottom:

  • Breakdown of airborne EW, ES (electronic surveillance) and EP (electronic protect) capabilities by country of origin.
  • Essential parametrics of the EA-18G and EA-6B, presented side-by-side and including loadout, service ceilings, airspeeds and the like.
  • A (very) notional description of the EW strike profile executed within the first days of the Libya campaign (I hope my former crewmates don’t hold me to account for this).
  • And finally, a geographic layout of the AD (air defence) profile along the Libyan coastline, with threat rings of relevant SAM systems. 

The location of SAM sites and coalition strike packages is entirely notional (I don’t think I’ve ever written that disclaimer before).

Rob Densmore is the Editor for

Infographic created by Rich de Silva ahead of the 10th Annual Airborne Electronic Warfare conference.


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