US Navy employs non-kinetic air power over Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Jan 7, 2010.

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  1. US Navy employs non-kinetic air power over Afghanistan

    January 07, 2010
    Carrier Air Wing 11 employs non-kinetic force to support troops on the ground in Afghanistan, minimizing the potential for civilian casualties.
    Non-kinetic force is intended not to cause any physical damage.
    The EA-6B Prowlers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135 deploy daily from the flight deck of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) jamming electronic signals in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
    "Our main focus of effort is to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum. That means we preserve it for coalition forces, and we deny its use to Afghan insurgents. If we can successfully do that, many times the ground commander may not need a bomb," said Lt. Cmdr. Blake Tornga, maintenance officer from VAQ-135.
    The missions Prowlers fly directly support the July 2009 tactical directive issued by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.
    "We must fight the insurgents, and will use the tools at our disposal to both defeat the enemy and protect our forces," McChrystal outlined in the directive. The directive clearly states limitations on the use of force that could result in civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
    "The enemy command and control network in Afghanistan is fairly dispersed and flexible. We have to constantly adapt our tactics, based on new technology in the hands of the enemy, to interdict parts of that network," Tornga said.
    When the Prowlers were first received by the Navy in January of 1971 and deployed to Vietnam in 1972, the primary mission was focused on jamming enemy radar. They supported strike aircraft, ships and ground troops by degrading the enemy's early warning capability and electronic weapons systems.
    The EA-6B of yesterday, outfitted with technology of today, has adapted its platform to support Operation Enduring Freedom in a way no other airframe can.
    "There are very few electronic attack platforms out there," said Tornga. "We are the only tactical electronic attack platform. Mountain valleys, small turns, staying tight with a convoy, that mission right now can only be done with the EA-6B."
    Tornga explained that the intentions of McChrystal's directive are what Prowlers have been doing for years. "There will certainly remain a need for kinetics in support of the ground forces - but being able to turn a kinetic situation into a non-kinetic one is pretty rewarding," said Tornga.
    "Some of the real-time feedback we get from the ground troops after a successful mission makes me realize why we need to be here, and it makes this deployment very, very meaningful.
  2. Whilst I understand that SIGINT and the like come in handy, is there really so much of a call for 'electronic attack' warplanes to 'dominate the electromagnetic spectrum'? Never realised the Taliban relied on the EM spectrum so much for their ops, or tried to jam our own via it...

    Or is this just a good news story for them.
  3. It did cross my mind. After all we are fighting, in comparison, someone with a club and a spear and they seem to be doing very well!
  4. I have to wonder how much of a self-licking lollypop this is. Terry learns from harsh experience that over-use of electronic means results in express delivery of HE, so learns to minimise on all means.

    EW types note reduction in EM activity from the enemy and start slapping each others' backs over what a good job they're doing supressing enemy EMS activity.
  5. Whilst I appreciate what you say, it has become apparent that terrorists in general are fond of using mobile/satellite phones and place considerable reliance on them. Screwing up their comms is all part of the battle.
  6. Indeed, it's all part of the notion many hold that insurgent logistics, c2, etc. happens by magic, or at the very least in some way that can't be practically stopped. They don't. Asymmetric warfare is often, under the surface, very familiar to anyone who has been in uniform.
  7. Old news.
  8. Interesting, though i wish Kinetic had never become a buzzword, it makes the physics educated part of me cringe everytime i hear it.
  9. Kinetic would make the physical bit of me cringe if it hit me , nevermind the physics educated bit!!
  10. What they are on about is IED "burning" by EA-6B.

    And before anybody shouts OPSEC it's even mentioned in Wikipedia.....

    "According to news reports, the Prowler has been used in anti-improvised explosive device operations in the current conflict in Afghanistan for several years by jamming remote detonation devices such as garage door openers or cellular telephones. Two Prowler squadrons are also based in Iraq, working with the same mission."