Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Carrier Support Aircraft

Carrier Support Aircraft

The 4 aircraft types that round out the CVW on any aircraft carrier perform vital functions which enable the entire CVBG to survive and fight much more effectively.

E-2C Hawkeye

This aircraft is the Navy’s AWACs (Airborne Warning and Control) aircraft. Each CVW has a squadron of 4 of these highly capable aircraft. In Northern Fury 5 additional Hawkeye’s were needed for the additional CVW and this was achieved by maintaining older ‘Group 0’ aircraft in service until further ‘Group II’ become available. The end goal is to have 75 available to the fleet by 1998.

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VAW-78 Night Wolves FRS 6 E-2C NAS North Island
VAW-88 Cotton Pickers CVRW-30 5 E-2C NAS Whidbey Island
VAW-111 Grey Berets CVW-10 4 E-2C USS George Washington
VAW-112 Golden Hawks CVW-9 4 E-2C USS Nimitz
VAW-113 Black Eagles CAW-14 4 E-2C USS Carl Vinson
VAW-114 Hormel Hogs CVW-15 4 E-2C USS Kitty Hawk
VAW-115 Liberty Bells CVW-5 4 E-2C USS Independence
VAW-116 Sun Kings CVW-2 4 E-2C USS Constellation
VAW-117 Wallbangers CVW-11 4 E-2C USS Abraham Lincoln
VAW-120 Greyhawks FRS 8 E-2C NAS Oceana
VAW-121 Bluetails CVW-7 4 E-2C USS JF Kennedy
VAW-122 Steeljaws CAW-6 4 E-2C USS Enterprise
VAW-123 Screwtops CVW-1 4 E-2C USS America
VAW-124 Bear Aces CVW-8 4 E-2C USS T Roosevelt
VAW-125 Tigertails CVW-17 4 E-2C USS Saratoga
VAW-126 Seahawks CVW-3 4 E-2C USS Eisenhower
VAW-127 Seabats CVRW-20 5 E-2C NAS Oceana

C-2A-R Greyhound

Although not the ‘Sexiest’ role in a CVW; Carrier Onboard Delivery or COD, is critical to the functioning of every CVBG. The C-2 Greyhound is built on the same airframe as the E-2C Hawkeye and is the overworked ‘Pack Mule’ of the fleet, carrying high priority cargo, casualties, passengers and mail to and from the CVBG. The ‘R’ in the designation represents ‘Re-procured’ as the 39 aircraft built in the late 80’s, look very similar to those they replaced, but they were in fact much improved. All of the C-2A-R’s belong to two VRC squadrons, one on each coast and a detachment of 2 Greyhounds is normally attached to each deployed CVW. There are 14 original C-2A’s in storage.

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VRC-30 Providers Various 14 C-2A-R NAS North Island
VRC-40 Rawhides Various 18 C-2A-R NAS Norfolk
VRC-50 Foo Dogs Various 7 C-2A-R NAS Cubi Point
7 US-3A Modified S-3

EA-6B Prowler

The EA-6B Prowler was an Electronic Warfare (EW) platform that could detect, classify, localize, supress and jam enemy electronic emissions. Equipped with jamming pods, or High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) or both, this aircraft was ideal for escorting strike packages in order to conduct Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) missions, protecting other aircraft from enemy defensive Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) or detection by radar. A squadron of 4 or sometimes 5 of these valuable aircraft were part of each CVW.

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VAQ-33 Firebirds FRS 16 EA-6B NAS Key West
VAQ-130 Zappers CVW-3 4 EA-6B USS Eisenhower
VAQ-131 Lancers CVW-2 4 EA-6B USS Constellation
VAQ-132 Scorpions CVW-17 4 EA-6B USS Saratoga
VAQ-133 Wizards CAW-6 4 EA-6B USS Enterprise
VAQ-134 Garudas CVW-15 4 EA-6B USS Kitty Hawk
VAQ-135 Black Ravens CVW-11 5 EA-6B USS Abraham Lincoln
VAQ-136 Gauntlets CVW-5 4 EA-6B USS Independence
VAQ-137 Rooks CVW-1 4 EA-6B USS America
VAQ-138 Yellow Jackets CVW-9 4 EA-6B USS Nimitz
VAQ-139 Cougars CAW-14 4 EA-6B USS Carl Vinson
VAQ-140 Patriots CVW-7 4 EA-6B USS JF Kennedy
VAQ-141 Shadowhawks CVW-8 4 EA-6B USS T Roosevelt
VAQ-209 Star Warriors CVWR-20 4 EA-6B NAS Oceana
VAQ-309 Axemen CVWR-30 4 EA-6B NAS Whidbey Island

S-3B Viking

The S-3B Viking is an excellent ASW platform with modern electronics, computers and GPS navigation – a first for 1994. The S-3 platform is so versatile it has been adapted to the ES-3A Shadow detailed below, a cargo version (US-3A), a dedicated tanker (KS-3A- not adopted), the Aladdin for ground surveillance (6), and for several experimental designs such as Gray Wolf with multi-mode ISR systems, or the Beartrap ELINT versions. Therefore, this aircraft type is in high demand, so much so that the USN experimented with reducing the Squadron size from 10 to 6, but were forced to bring it up to 8 by 1991. There are simply not enough airframes however, and the constant demands mean that there are absolutely no spare Vikings in the fleet.

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VS-21 Redtails CVW-5 8 S-3B USS Independence
VS-22 Checkmates CVW-3 8 S-3B USS Eisenhower
VS-24 Scouts CVW-8 8 S-3B USS T Roosevelt
VS-27 Sea Wolves CVW-10 8 S-3B USS George Washington
VS-28 Gamblers CAW-6 8 S-3B USS Enterprise
VS-29 Dragonfires CVW-11 8 S-3B USS Abraham Lincoln
VS-30 Diamondcutters CVW-17 8 S-3B USS Saratoga
VS-31 Topcats CVW-2 8 S-3B USS Constellation
VS-32 Maulers CVW-1 8 S-3B USS America
VS-33 Screwbirds CVW-9 8 S-3B USS Nimitz
VS-35 Blue Wolves CVW-14 8 S-3B USS Carl Vinson
VS-37 Sawbucks CVW-15 8 S-3B USS Kitty Hawk
VS-38 Red Griffins CVW-7 8 S-3B USS JF Kennedy
VS-41 Shamrocks FRS 4 S-3B NAS Oceana

ES-3A Shadow

Another derivative of the S-3 is the highly successful ES-3A which was converted from the original S-3A airframes to fulfill the role of ELINT or Electronic Intelligence gathering. Only 16 of these aircraft exist and they were produced between 1990 and 1992. VQ-5 ‘Sea Shadows’ and VQ-6 ‘Black Ravens’ each fly 8 of these highly specialized aircraft, normally sending a pair to each deployed CVW.

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VQ-5 Sea Shadows Various 8 ES-3A NAS North Island
VQ-6 Black Ravens Various 8 ES-3A NAS Cecil Field