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Libya’s air defenses, air bases and military communications were schwacked by U.S. submarines, warships and a squadron of EA-18G Growlers, the chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead said in response to questions from Aviation Week.In a time of declining defense budgets, the results justify increasing investment in cyber and electronic attack capabilities, he says.“I don’t consider our aviators flying into the air defense system of a third-rate power any less critical than going into [the defensive ring of] a high-end system,” Roughead says. “It has to be taken seriously because of the proliferation of [anti-aircraft missile systems] that we see around the world.”Libya, for example, fielded the long-range SA-5, the medium range SA-6 and SA-8 -- all upgraded to some degree -- and the newest, Russian-made, SA-24 short range missile. The presence in Lybia of the new SA-24 was first identified publicly by Aviation Week.“You are always going to have to go in and bag that system electronically before you do anything else,” he says. “As you know, for the last several years we have very much wanted to take on the broader electronic attack mission. The first Growler squadron in Iraq recovered from the combat mission [there, and] 47-hrs. later they launched a combat mission on a Libyan air base.“That’s pretty extraordinary in terms of agility,” Roughead says. “That’s why we’re investing in Growler. Electronic attack is going to become increasingly important. [That capability is being integrated with] the electronic suites on our surface ships and submarines.“On the cyber side, [aircraft and ships] but particularly submarines [had] an extraordinary system with which to participate in cyberoperations,” he says. “Those are areas we focused on.”In the Navy aviation, airborne electronic and cyber attack will come together in the Next Generation Jammer program that will be installed first on the EA-18G Growler and then the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.“The Next Generation Jammer is very important [for naval aviation] and our investments are going into that because the fight is going to begin and be sustained in the electromagnetic environment,” Roughead says. “Nor is it going to be limited to just the [operations against] high-end countries.”
ar99, cyber, EW, Libya, Navy, submarines, Growlers
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