Electronic Weapons: December 2, 2001


With no enemy air defenses to suppress, the navy EA-6B jammer aircraft are using their ALQ-99 Jammers to shut down Taliban communications in Afghanistan. This has been particularly useful in supporting the special operations forces, as one Taliban unit that spots a US or British team cannot effectively warn other units of its presence. Detailed plans must be worked out as there are EA-6Bs, EP-3Es, EC-130Hs, Predator drones, and RC-135s working the area, and some want to listen in on one frequency while others want to jam a different frequency. Even more complications exist when strike aircraft enter the area, as some of the jamming could disrupt operations by GPS-guided bombs and Predator drones. There are four EA-6Bs on each carrier, and each sends three of them into Afghanistan every day. Strike missions are scheduled to go in while one EA-6B is on station and another is refueling nearby. The EA-6Bs never carried HARM missiles as the Taliban air defenses were never much of a threat. --Stephen V Cole


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