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Electronic Attack Squadron 129
VAQ-129 insignia
Active September 1, 1970 - present
Country 23x15px United States of America
Branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Role Airborne Electronic Attack
Part of Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific
Garrison/HQ Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Nickname Vikings
Aircraft flown
Attack EA-6B Prowler
EA-18G Growler
EKA-3B Skywarrior

Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129) is the United States Navy and Marine Corps' only EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G Growler training squadron. Known as the Vikings, they are a Fleet Replacement Squadron, or FRS, and are charged with training all EA-6B and EA-18G aviators and developing standard operating procedures for the maintenance and operation of the aircraft. The squadron is permanently stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, in Puget Sound, Washington. Beginning in June 2008, VAQ-129 began transitioning to the Navy's next generation electronic attack aircraft the EA-18G Growler.[1]


Heavy Attack Squadron 10 (VAH-10) flying the A-3 Skywarrior was re-designated Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron One Two Nine (TACELECWARON129) (VAQ-129) flying the EA-6B Prowlers on September 1, 1970. The change in name brought with it a change in mission. The first EA-6B standard version Prowler was delivered in January 1971. With its arrival, VAQ-129 commenced its career as the training squadron for EA-6B fleet commands.

File:EA-6B VAQ-129 Apr2004.jpg
An VAQ-129 EA-6B in 2004.

In January 1977, the Navy introduced the first of its Improved Capability (ICAP) version Prowlers. In March 1977, VAQ-129 began training United States Marine Corps aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and maintain the ICAP version of the aircraft, starting a long training relationship with the Marine Corps. In 1984, the first ICAP II version of the EA-6B arrived.

The Vikings introduced the AGM-88A High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) to the EA-6B in 1986. In 1988 they introduced the new “Block 86” version of the ICAP II Prowler. During Operation Desert Storm, an updated HARM capability was introduced, which proved tremendously successful in the subsequent combat operations.

File:EA-18G Growler takes off.jpg
An EA-18G Growler of VAQ-129 in October 2008 at NAF El Centro.

August 1992 saw the Executive Officer’s billet filled by a USMC Lieutenant Colonel, further strengthening VAQ-129’s relationship with the Marine Corps. In the summer of 2005 the new ICAP III was delivered to the community to pave the way for the follow on platform of the EA-18G.

The retirement of the United States Air Force's EF-111A Raven makes the EA-6B and EA-18G the only tactical aircraft in the U.S. inventory capable of performing electronic attack. This signals an even greater role for the Prowler and Growler for years to come.

On 5 August 2009, EA-18G Growlers from VAQ-129 and Electronic Attack Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) completed their first at-sea carrier-arrested landing (trap) aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).[2]

In 2013, VAQ-129 began training Royal Australian Air Force aircrew to operate the EA-18G. [3]

See also

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  1. ^ Yates, Tucker M. "Navy Welcomes Era of Electronic Warfare". Navy News. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  2. ^ Mark L. Evans and Dale J. Gordon (Summer 2010). "Year in Review 2009" (PDF). Naval Aviation News 94 (2): 24. 0028-1417. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  3. ^ The Australian, 6 November 2013, RAAF pilots starts Growler training