As decision-making personnel within the Air Force became more and more convinced that the new (stealth) bomber would always get through, less attention was paid to the support jamming
and lethal SEAD corners of the triad.
The ELT/555 is a supersonic jammer pod, powered by a ram air turbine in the nose, and the Aries is an ELINT and support jamming
suite intended for business jet installations.
This left the primary responsibility of support jamming
to the Navy and its principle EW asset: the EA-6B Prowler.
The slow introduction of modern stealth aircraft into the inventory and the realization that stealth is not invisible across the spectrum continues to make support jamming
an essential aspect of US military operations.
A dedicated support jamming
aircraft, with its specialized equipment and dedicated EW operators, provides much greater jamming power than the self-protection equipment on a strike aircraft.
The ICAP III program will give the Prowler a new receiver group to improve its performance for support jamming
and lethal suppression of enemy air defenses missions.
Yet even with the DOD's growing emphasis on precision targeting and hard-kill solutions, the investment in the EA-6B ICAP III demonstrates that the subtle art of support jamming
is still a major part of information operations.
EA-6B Prowler Emerging as Sole US Support Jamming
Platform Until at Least 2015
Once the EA-6B reaches its inevitable retirement, the US will probably never field a dedicated, manned platform for either support jamming
(nonlethal SEAD) or lethal suppression again.
Under a section covering specialized forces, the report discussed the retirement of the EF-111 and the DOD's transition to a joint force concept for support jamming
The upgrade will enable the Prowler to be the primary support jamming
aircraft for all Air Force, Army and Navy nonlethal suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) missions.
The New York delegation addressed its concerns over the future of support jamming
by stating, "[I]t is clear that neither the Air Force nor the Navy have an adequate plan in place to provide the necessary defense suppression capability for all the services in both combat and peacetime operations.