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Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) is a rated Navigator in the United States Air Force who has received training in enemy threat systems, electronic warfare principles, and their associated applications. These officers are airborne specialists in finding, identifying, and countering radar, infrared, and optically guided weapons systems such as surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and enemy fighters. In aircraft that penetrate enemy airspace, EWOs protect their aircraft using radar jammers, chaff, flares, and other techniques to deceive potential threats. In other aircraft, EWOs provide electronic warfare force enhancement to various military operations.[1]

Initially the United States Air Force utilized rated (fully-qualified) Navigator officers as EWO Trainees, or EWOT. The primary training was accomplished at the 453d Flying Training Squadron at Mather AFB, near Sacramento, California. Follow-on EWO training, called Combat Crew Training School (CCTS), was usually completed at the location of the unit to which the EWO was assigned. B-52 CCTS was conducted at Castle AFB, near Atwater, California. EWOs could also be assigned to F-111, F-4G Wild Weasel, C-130 variants (MC,EC, etc), or a number of variants of the RC-135.[1]

As an example, the EWO in a B-52 is trained in the use of various active and passive Electronic countermeasures (ECM) techniques and equipment. Active jammers include the AN/ALQ-155 Power Management System, AN/ALQ-117/172, AN/ALT-16, AN/ALQ-122, AN/ALQ-153 Tail Warning System and the low-band communications jammer set AN/ALT-32. The EWO monitors the electromagnetic environment through the use of radar receivers such as the AN/ALR-46 and AN/ALR-20A. Additionally, the EWO has command of AN/ALE-24 chaff and AN/ALE-20 flare set for self protection.[1]

Currently the B-1B bomber and F-15E Strike Fighter Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) training is located at Pensacola NAS. The training period is 12 months, not including Initial Flight Screening (IFS), and completing their training as an EWO in the 563d FTS.[1]

EWO basic course training is conducted at the 563d Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB, TX. Its a 12 week program for B-52, AC/MC/EC-130 and RC-135 EWOs. F-15E and B-1 WSOs are also qualified EWOs. Students come from undergraduate navigator training at the 562d FTS and from WSOs before going to their follow on training. Upon completion the EWOs are winged and the WSOs have completed their upgrade.[1]




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