Beeps and Squeaks

Bill Cahill takes us into a world of electronic reconnaissance when EB-66s played cat and mouse with North Vietnamese missiles

An EB-66C of the 42nd TEWS seen from another, in March 1970.
US NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Half-asleep in the belly of the Douglas EB-66C, 1st Lt Lynn Claxon was cycling the APR-9 receiver up through his assigned search frequencies when he heard the signal. As the electronic warfare officer, it was his job to search the E and F radar frequency bands for threat radars. These included the Whiff and Fire Can anti-aircraft fire control radars and the deadly Fan Song target-tracking radar associated with the SA-2 Guideline missile.

The signal went away but quickly returned – it was unmistakably a Fan Song radar beam. He quickly switched over to the ALA-5 pulse analyser to verify. Yep. Lynn quickly assigned two QRC-279 jammers against the radar and took a line of bearing. It was in Route Pack 1, the southernmost of the areas of operations the USAF and US Navy used to partition airspace over North Vietnam.

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