SPOKANE, Wash. -- The particular aircraft that crashed down in Lincoln County is exclusive to the Whidbey Island “Fighting Vikings.”
The EA-6B Prowler is a four-seat attack aircraft, which routinely flies in the area. This includes monthly touch-and-go landings at Fairchild Air Force Base. Local authorities say that’s to make sure pilots are familiar with the runways around Spokane in case they ever need to land here.
It’s part of the routine for the military aviators, who train in this region.
The Prowler is one of only two tactical aircraft in the entire U.S. Military capable of performing an electronic attack. It’s sent into hostile territory and is able to intercept and scramble enemy signals, weapons and communication. Both of the planes with these capabilities are stationed out of Whidbey Island and routinely train on this side of the mountains.
The Prowler is considered an attack plane, so it carries heavy fire power. It’s able to carry and fire anti-radiation missiles.
The plane has been used in conflicts dating back to the Vietnam War through Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. None have ever been lost in combat. However, the aircraft did crash in Umatilla County in Eastern Oregon in 2006. It was also a remote area used for training purposes. In that crash, all four crew members were able to eject safely.
It’s still unknown what caused Monday’s crash, nor why the pilot and passengers were unable to escape.
On the Fighting Vikings’ Facebook page, friends and family members expressed great sorrow for those who lost their lives.