News: EA-6B Prowlers depart Japan for US
YOKOSUKA, Japan—Four EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 at Naval Air Facilities (NAF) Atsugi departed Feb. 16 for the United States as part of a previously scheduled plan to replace them with newer EA-18G Growler aircraft.
One EA-6B Prowler aircraft will remain indefinitely to be repaired after it lost an exterior aircraft panel while landing at NAF Atsugi on Feb. 8.
The EA-6B Prowler aircraft with the “Gauntlets” of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 136 are flying a trans-Pacific flight of more than 4,200 nautical miles to arrive at Whidbey Island, Wash.
The EA-18G Growler aircraft of the “Shadow Hawks” of VAQ 141 will be assigned to CVW 5 and are expected to arrive in Japan in early of spring 2012. Announced on Feb. 3, this move is part of a long range plan called an overseas force structure change to rotate newer and more capable equipment and aircraft to the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF). Increasing FDNF capability supports the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
VAQ-136 was first assigned to CVW 5 nearly 32 years ago arriving in Japan on Feb. 29, 1980. Since that time, the “Gauntlets” have served aboard USS Midway (CV 41), USS Independence (CV 62), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS George Washington (CVN 73).