The Navy’s last operational EA-6B Prowler electronic-attack aircraft departed NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., marking the type’s end of service in the Navy after more than 40 years, announced Northrop Grumman, the aircraft’s designer and manufacturer. Hundreds of spectators turned out for the aircraft’s June 27 departure from Whidbey Island, which has hosted Prowlers since 1971 when the platform entered service. The EA-6B is “the longest-serving carrier-based aircraft in history,” states the company’s release. “Northrop Grumman salutes the sailors, naval aviators, and maintainers whose service and sacrifice shaped the remarkable career of the Navy EA-6B Prowler,” said Pat McMahon, company vice president for military aircraft systems. With the retirement of the Navy’s Prowler fleet, the sea service’s electronic-attack workhorse is the EA-18G Growler, built by a Boeing-led industry team. The Growler entered service in 2009. The Marine Corps plans to keep flying Prowlers through 2019. (See also From Prowlers to Growlers.)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.