Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Acknowledges New Synergy Between EA-6B and EA-18G

8/9/2007 - In a time of shrinking dollars and emerging complex requirements, Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Laboratory teams for two different platforms (EA-6B and EA-18G) at Point Mugu opened the doors of communication (literally) to more easily leverage knowledge.

The EA-6B Prowler is a long-range, all-weather aircraft with advanced electronic countermeasures capability. The Prowler provides an umbrella of protection for strike aircraft, ground troops, and ships by jamming enemy radar, electronic data links, and communications. The EA-18G Growler is scheduled to start replacing the aging EA-6B aircraft in 2009.

“It is now easier to share information, subject matter experts and resources,” said Dr. Melissa Midzor, AEA Laboratory lead - Pt. Mugu, who is project manager for the labs, which support both state-of-the-art electronic jamming platforms.

Capt. Steven G. Kochman, head of the Prowler Program Office (PMA-234) in NAVAIR’s Program Executive Office for Tactical Air Programs, was on hand for a recent ribbon cutting ceremony and acknowledged the event and noted the value of this move. “The commonality of the sensor (ALQ-218), weapon (ALQ-99) and communication (MIDS/Link 16) systems between these aircraft provided the impetus for this decision,” he said. “And the synergy between these two programs is evidenced in the accelerating success enjoyed by both.”

“People now view it as "one AEA" lab, instead of stove-piped platforms,” added Midzor. The evidence is an elevated stream of activity between labs. “Technically speaking, EA-6B’s high tech ICAP-III ALQ-218(v)1 Tactical Jamming Receiver is physically right next to the Boeing and Northrop Grumman provided sophisticated EA-18G ALQ-218(v)2 system.”

The goal is to provide a better product for those in harm’s way. “The joining of the two labs is a critical step in facilitating further cooperation and synergy to the benefit of both programs and the war fighters who will operate them in combat,” said Kochman.

Allan E. Graves, chief engineer and acting lead, AEA Integrated Product Team (IPT), addressed the cost benefit. “This environment will facilitate a reduction in long-term sustainment cost that will be realized as the EA-6B airborne electronic attack team transitions to EA-18G,” he said. “In addition, this environment will ensure that improvements to EA-6B ICAP III electronic attack capabilities are successfully transitioned to EA-18G during post-production upgrades.”

Midzor summed up the benefits, "This move helps coordinate the requirements and resource agreements between the two different projects using the labs. It is a win, win for both platforms."

Source: USN Press Release by Linda Lou Crosby

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