Farewell to the Navy's EA-6B Prowler
The Navy's last flyable EA-6B Prowler has been delivered to NAS Point Mugu, CA, where it will eventually be added to the existing airframes gracing the base's outdoor museum, Missile Park.
AJ502 of VAQ-134, bureau number 163890, was repainted to its original 1960's scheme for the deactivation. Although there is some rumblings of the aircraft flying during the Point Mugu Open House on September 26th & 27th, base representatives suggest that is highly unlikely and most probably doubtful. They are however hopeful that the aircraft will be on the ramp for display during the open house.
So why does Point Mugu get the last Navy Prowler? Simply put, the base has a long history of providing Electronic Warfare support to the EA-6B Fleet since the early 1970's. Since the aircraft's inception, Grumman (now Northrop-Grumman) has provided mission systems software maintenance and support services for the jet at Naval Air Weapons Center WPNS Point Mugu.
With almost 45 years of service, the EA-6B leaves behind a legacy of being the longest serving carrier-borne aircraft.
Currently, only four squadrons of EA-6B's still fly. Operated by the Marine Corps out of Cherry Point, NC, VMAQT-1 Banshees, VMAQ-2 Death Jesters, VMAQ-3 Moon Dogs and VMAQ-4 Seahawks will continue to fly until around 2018 when they too are expected to be replaced by either the EA-18G Growler or the more preferred method of an Electronic Warfare and RADAR Jamming Pod for the teething F-35. Other methods of replacement include a possible UAV as well as distribution of technology across other already existing platforms.