From a friend at the Naval Rework Facility...
This a Prowler that we put together using parts from 3 different aircraft
and made it the newest Prowler in the fleet with all new wiring, engines,
flight controls, avionics and weapons systems. In this picture it's
returning from its check flight. Only cost Uncle Sam $20,000,000 and well
What it looked like in 1990 at Davis-Monthan.
From my friend at NADEP:
(The quality of the photos is "ehh")
The BUNO is 158542
We used the front half of VEP (vehicle enhancement program) BUNO 158542 and
the aft half was AIP (avionics enhancement program) 158547.
We installed a new center wing section.
NAVAIR Jacksonville EA-6B VEP Team Exceeds in Franken-Prowler Project
Jacksonville, FL -
An appropriate quote from Gene Wilder's immortal role as Dr. Frankenstein
(pronounced "Fronkensteen") in the 1974 film "Young Frankenstein" sums up
the feeling of the EA-6B Vehicle Enhancement Project (VEP) team as their
project aircraft, lifts into the air on it's first flight since 28
September1994: "Alive! It's alive! It's alive...." The first flight
following reconstitution of the aircraft will almost be 20 years to the day
of it's last flight.
The VEP Mission statement reads: "The mission of the NAVAIR Depot,
Jacksonville EA-6B Franken-Prowler Team is to provide NAVAIR with an
additional Electronic Warfare asset by combining the forward fuselage of the
Vehicle Enhancement Program (VEP) aircraft BUNO 158542, with the aft
fuselage of the Avionics Improvement Program (AIP) aircraft BUNO 158547,
along with a new wing and all current system upgrades. The result will be a
fully operational Block 89A, Night Vision capable Prowler for the War
In essence, take two defunct and tired war birds, and reconstitute one
electronic war-fighting asset to send back to the fleet.
Judging from the jet exhaust that hangs in the air as the aircraft becomes a
speck on the horizon, they have more than achieved that goal. What is the
story behind one EA-6B's passage from cradle to an apparent grave and then
back to life once more?
Like the Mad Scientist who opens his notebook to begin work on his latest
creation, so did the IPT in it's layout of the "FrankenProwler" project
timeline. The original plan as summed up by Monty Pearce, NAVAIR Depot
Jacksonville VEP Team Lead, was a three-phase evolution with the entire
De-modification Engineering accomplished by Northrop Grumman, Bethpage
Division and De-modification Production was to be performed by Northrop
Grumman, St. Augustine. The re-build and manufacture of the final airframe
would then be performed by NAVAIR Depot Jacksonville.
Once the aircraft sections were identified, the IPT along with the Depot at
Jacksonville went to work on the assembly preparation of the organ donors of
the final aircraft that was to carry the original VEP bureau number. The
total engineering budget for the De-modification phase totaled $2.3M
research in determining which sections of aircraft would be utilized. To
date only $1.6M has been expended, a cost avoidance of approximately
Putting the monster together.
Shipment of the individual aircraft sections began in Early 2001 from
Northrop Grumman, St. Augustine, FL to the Depot at Jacksonville, FL. Upon
arrival the NADEP IPT went to work on stripping out the wiring in
preparation for the modification installations. After the primary joining
components were verified that they were not in a pre-stressed condition VEP
forward section, new WCS, and AIP aft fuselage section had to be joined.
However, one roadblock was the alignment of the two separate airframe
sections that had been through different life cycles, and a brand new wing
Center section, and connect them as one aircraft and be within acceptable
tolerance. Ms. Ellen Bullock, the Lead Project Engineer for
Structures of VEP writes, ".because both the VEP and AIP airframes were each
of a unique test configuration, numerous aircraft components, structural
members, systems components wiring and weapons replaceable assemblies (WRAs)
required modification or replacement to return the aircraft to a current
Ms. Bullock then assigned, Mr. Dave Crawley, a Mechanical Engineering
Technician along with two Tool and Die Technicians, to come up with a way to
verify alignment of the three sections while on a fixture. Mr. Crawley laid
out a plan to use optical measurements for the alignment obtained via
The end result showed major aircraft sections were very closely aligned
after joining of major airframe sections with temporary fasteners. Once
aligned, the aircraft was removed from the fixture, the entire aircraft now
consisting of VEP and AIP sections had to effect airframe modifications to
an original block 82 configuration.
Once the Block 82 configuration airframe was achieved, the aircraft was then
modified both within the airframe and electrically to a Block 89A Fleet
configuration. Following the kit installation, the aircraft progressed
through the rest of the EA-6B assembly process to the DITMCO wiring test
machine. Another programmatic success story took place during the wiring
test when, with 100 percent of the aircraft's wiring replaced, it passed
with 65% less discrepancies than a normal Fleet 82-89A wiring modification.
Throughout the entire process of piecing together VEP, the team
painstakingly checked for validity and re-verified over 465 Airframe
Bulletins (AFB) and Airframe Changes (AFC) and Materials Management
personnel established a comprehensive database of over 10,000 consumable,
repairable and one of a kind assets. This monumental effort contributed to
piecing an aircraft together that had lie dormant for 20 years back into a
Fleet configuration. As a result of these coordinated material management
efforts the entire project achieved a cost avoidance of over $14M through
intensive research of stricken hulks and taking advantage of other salvage
The aircraft was sent to Final Assembly on April 20th 2004 and remains there
until late September. During the Final Assembly process, since there was no
"cookbook for building a Prowler" as stated by Monty Pearce, the team has to
essentially build a database and in the final stages determine what is or is
not missing. This database was based on four separate configuration Bill of
Material (BOM) lists, over 465 AFC and AFB lists, and Request Engineering
Investigation (REI)/Technical Engineering Investigation (TEI) collections.
The aircraft completed a full fuel check and final wiring inspection in
August and September and rolled out of the hangar on its way to flight test
The entire aircraft re-manufacturing process will last from February 2001
through September 2004 when it will finally be delivered to VAQ-141 as a
fully functional, 34 year-old re-manufactured EA-6B Prowler that will last
for years to come. The greatest success is not that of giving another
aircraft back to the fleet; as important as that is, but rather the human
achievements attained throughout the almost four years of work and research
during this project. Over 300 artisans performed on the aircraft
maintenance stage, to "resurrect" an aircraft that had once been destined to
remain in the desert among other forgotten or fallen heroes of Naval
She sure is a pretty bird. That there is one of the most highly demanded aircraft in the inventory. So much so they are govt property, no navy, marine, etc....
Heh, I'll take a pic when it gets here. VAQ-141 is right next to me in my hanger. Hell, I'll go out and look for it tomorrow; it might be here already.
Hey Unknown1Sailor you up in Whidbey huh. I did my Framp up there on EA-6B's but I spent my time in the Corps working on A6-E's out of MCAS Cherry Point, NC
E = Electronic A = Attack
Tactical Electronic Warfare
In flight front-line jammers.
Nothing goes airborne for an attack unless there are Prowlers in front.....
Sure do. I have a buddy who has video of his aircraft firing HARM missiles during OIF. Good stuff!
Shadowhawks conduct HARM exercise
By Travis Inouye
The Shadowhawks of VAQ 141 successfully launched a High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile off the coast of Southern California June 17 in a combined exercise with VAQ 138 and Carrier Air Wing 9. The squadron's two EA-6B Prowlers operated from NAS Point Mugu while the other participants launched from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Together, a combined total of three Prowlers launched two ATM-88B HARMs at a target ship in the Pacific Ocean.
The HARM shoot detachment was a significant challenge due to the squadron's busy schedule and minimal planning time for the Point Mugu detachment. The intrepid work of Shadowhawk administrative personnel and maintainers condensed the recommended three-month preparation time to less than four weeks, with most of the planning and coordination being completed while on detachment to Nellis AFB, Nev.
Sixteen members from the squadron represented the maintenance department and supported operations ashore. Their impressive support enabled the aircrew to log a total of 15.4 flight hours over eight sorties to include four live ordnance flights.
"I'm continuously impressed with the caliber and professionalism of the Shadowhawk maintenance staff," said Lt. Bryan Gunkel, one of the VAQ 141 aircrew on the detachment.
The high-paced operations concluded with the jets returning to NAS Whidbey Island less than 36 hours after they departed.
They have flares and chaff for protection.
The fighters cover their asses.
might be old, but I like those planes
Remember that thread "if you could buy one plane for $1..."?
THIS would be it. I LOVE the A-6 airframe!
Prowlers are sooooooo cool!
The Intruders were always my favorite Navy aircraft.
The Prowlers look a little funkier, but carry on the tradition very nicely.
No, they do not have the fire-control hardware on board to support AAMs..
Never did, even as the A-6...
FUGLY plane, but they work wonders at what they do...
The EF-111 was better looking & more survivable...
Probably a nOOb question but why would it need flares and chaff for protection when it can jam the enemies radar and communications?
Those guys ROCK!!!!!!
Always thought Prowler/SAM fights were just about the most critical. All weather kick ass airframes...
The 3 person crew complement on a EA-6B is a pilot, co-pilot and an electronics warfare officer?
I was always under the impression there were 4
crewmembers in the Prowler.
Flares confuse infra red homing missiles.
Chaff is for any radar frequency that may not have gotten jammed by the
4 person crew, only one pilot. The rest are NFOs.
That's an old jet. Too bad we couldn't find a use for the F-4.
1 pilot, left front.
1 ECW officer, right front, who is also a navigator, and comm officer.
2 ECW officers in the back.
The NFOs are Electronic Counter-Measure Officers... ECMO. Pronounced "ek-moe"
That is interesting. Boy that is a real complicated piece of electronic hardware. Can you please very basically describe what all of the ECMOs do?
They probably didn't use any of the parts from the Prowler I watched crash in Sequim about 20 years ago. Left a crater about the size of a football field. Crewmen all bailed out safely.
Communications jamming, navigation, radar jamming, finding targets, etc. Hopefully there is a Prowler bubba on here, or KA3 knows some stuff too. I only really know what my ECMO friend tells me.
I saw some footage of a bad cat shot of a prowler once. All four of those guys came shooting out of there like balls from a roman candle (only faster).
Haha yup. Weird isn't it?
I went through the ejection seat class 2 weeks ago. Man I hope I never have to use that.
3 person crew, the 4th is just along for the ride....
Haha, that certainly is a NFO community. Gotta be a bit nerve racking training the pilots. There is no trainer version. One stick!
I left out the "from"
But you could tell none of them bothered to say "huh?" When the pilot said eject. IIRC most of them landed back on the flight deck (somewhere)
Most likely a command ejection. One handle pull, all 4 go.
They crashed an EA-6B out near Quillayute in 1990.
Departed flight at 23,000, the crew ejected at about 18,000, the plane went in nose down into an area that had just been clear-cut.
The hole was less than 20 yards wide, the plane went into the ground about 35 feet, the largest piece in the hole was the core of the one engine.
One of the ECMO's had all the fingers cut off of his right hand when he went out because he was not properly situated. The wonders of command ejection....
Do you guys remember the video when the carrier deck guy gets sucked into the intake? Its amazing that he survived. Ruined the engine though.
They always tell all the studs here about the crew that ejected at something like 600 knots up there in Whidbey I believe, some years ago. All 4 got out, only 1 survived, and pretty much broke every bone in his body. Know about that one at all?
The pilot drives the bus.
The right seater (ECMO 1) answers the phone, reads the map and runs the comm jamming gear.
The two back seaters run the jammers.
There is a lot more info here:
My squadron was flying off of the Stennis during OEF / Operation Anaconda.
They didn't do a lot of jamming and only carried HARMs as couple of times during the entire cruise.
They did give the USQ-113 system a good workout though.
Nope, but I can look at the Prowler memorial and probably figure it out.
The first time I was stationed at Whidbey I saw two A-6E's and an EA-6B crash, 1 on the runway 1 during an air show practice and the EA-6B out over the Puget Sound.
I also participated in the crash recoverys of the EA-6B that went down on the Olympic Penninsula and an A-6E that crashed into the Columbia River (body recovery, never want to do that again).
Plus I also helped out a lot of A-6 and EA-6B maintenance recovery crews when we would transport them all across the west coast to recover broke-dick Intruders and Prowlers....
The one I saw crash was definitely in the early 80s. I was sitting in a high school math class when we heard a loud very unnatural high pitched whine pass overhead and looked out the window to see an airplane leaving a trail of smoke travel by and crash about 5 miles away. We could see an explosion and the blast rattled the windows of the school.If I recall correctly it was later reported that the crewmen had all bailed out safely although they were scattered all over the place. All in all, a rather odd diversion from the typical boredoms of high school.