A few weeks back, we wrote a story about the future of electronic attack aircraft in the Navy and Marine Corps.
That story made a reference to preliminary talk of the Marine Corps eventually using the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for electronic warfare.
But I was over at the annual Electronic Warfare conference this past week and bounced that idea off an EW expert from the Joint Electronic Warfare Center and he called the idea “ridiculous.”
The jamming signals emitted by the EW pods are “loud” and make the aircraft easily identifiable on any radar, he said. Why would we spend billions of dollars developing a stealthy fighter jet just to attach EW pods that eliminate all the advantages of the stealth features?
Good thing the Corps has another a few years until it has to decide what will replace their Prowlers in 2017.
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The ability to infiltrate and retreat, or just slip back under stealth cover when threatened, has no value at all? An aircraft appearing out of nowhere and disrupting communications and surveillance before dissappearing again (maybe having diverted a few aircraft and missiles from their original mission in the meantime) cannot be an opponent to deal with. You’ve got until 2017 to design a low RCS pod for the jammers.