USS RONALD REAGAN, Pacific Ocean (NNS) -- The "Cougars" of VAQ-139 became the first EA-6B "Prowler" squadron to deploy at sea with the Improved Capability (ICAP) III system this summer.
The Whidbey Island, Wash.,-based squadron is currently utilizing the new technology while embarked aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Pacific Ocean as part of the strike group's Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
ICAP III is a systems upgrade for the EA-6B's weapons system. This is the eighth upgrade since the Prowler first entered Naval aviation service in 1970.
ICAP III takes prominent aircraft systems such as navigation, global positioning system (GPS), communications, electronic receiving and jamming system and satellite data links, and links them together in one single system.
According to Cmdr. Charles "Chuck" Luttrell, commanding officer of VAQ-139, "ICAP III takes the Prowler from 1960s technology and brings it into Windows technology."
"ICAP III makes the Prowler the lead player in strike operations," said Luttrell.
In previous ICAP versions, the center of the workload was concentrated on two electronic countermeasures officer (ECMO) stations
"With ICAP III, the workload is evenly distributed between the pilot and all ECMO stations," said Cmdr. Anthony "Ant" Calandra, the squadron's executive officer.
"The system has also improved the speed and accuracy in which signals are received and processed, creating a multitask-capable warfighter, and improves situational awareness," said Calandra.
VAQ-139 first transitioned to ICAP III in March 2005, when they received their first ICAP III-equipped aircraft. The squadron became fully outfitted with four jets in July 2005.
The "Cougars" then took the new technology to sea by embarking Reagan as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 during the ship's Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) in July 2005. This period marked the first operational "at-sea" period for the ICAP III-equipped Prowler.
Following the squadron's success at sea, VAQ-139 embarked on a training detachment to Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. During this training cycle, the ICAP III system was tested and produced a 30% increase in jamming effectiveness.
When VAQ-139 embarks Reagan as part of CVW-14 during its upcoming deployment, it will be the first actual deployment of the ICAP III-equipped EA-6B in a joint warfare combat environment, with electronic attack support being provided to Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force ground forces.
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