The U.S. Air Force on June 25 stood up the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing (350th SWW) under Air Combat Command (ACC) to focus on offensive electronic warfare (EW).
The wing is located at Eglin AFB, Fla. while the service conducts an environmental review of a permanent location.
“A first of its kind, the 350th SWW will enable, equip and optimize fielding capabilities to give the U.S. and its allies a sustainable, competitive advantage over adversaries in the electromagnetic spectrum [EMS],” per ACC. “The new wing will provide maintenance, operational, and technical expertise for electronic warfare in support of the Combat Air Forces.”
The 350th SWW is to consolidate all Air Force EMS efforts and will include the 53rd Electronic Warfare Group now at Eglin AFB.
The establishment of the 350th SWW has been in the works for months. Early this year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown said that the Air Force has not focused on EMS and had allowed a reduction of offensive EW since Operation Desert Storm in 1991 (Defense Daily, Jan. 27). Brown said that, while defensive aspects of the EMS have sufficed against threats from foreign violent extremists, the 350th SWW will be critical in countering the advanced capabilities of Russia and China.
In January, Brown said that the Air Force has been “using the same [EW] systems that we’ve been using over the course of the past 25 to 30 years, or actually probably since I was a young captain.”
DoD’s primary EW aircraft have been the Navy EA-18G Growler by Boeing [BA] and the Air Force EC-130H Compass Call by Lockheed Martin [LMT], and the Air Force plans to field EC-37B Compass Call Re-Host aircraft by BAE Systems. The EC-37B is based on the Gulfstream [GD] G550 business jet. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter also has an integrated EW suite.