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USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.

Some great photos from Brad Jones.

PECM (Passive Electronics Counter Measures)

 by Brad Jones

Ships shown here are in the gulf of tonkin, on yankee station, 1965

Photo from Brad Jones
 stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.


When: January 1968
Where: Aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
Location: On Yankee Station - Tonkin Gulf, North Vietnam
Who: RVAH-11 Checkertails (NAS Sanford, Florida)

Aircraft: RA-5C Vigilante

This is AT1 William "Rocco" Alaimo (complete with his Aussie hat) working at the PECM (Passive Electronics Counter Measures) bench while PH3 William Sweet is pondering something. The PECM Bird would fly up and down the coast of Vietnam recording any and all electronic emissions, no matter the frequency. It flew elsewhere, too, and its objective was to detect new radar stations, SAM locations, and any other forms of communications the enemy was using. Being "Passive" it simply monitored and recorded as opposed to DECM (Defensive Electronics Countermeasures) which were meant to actively block the enemy's broadcasts using every means from the most basic (e.g., chaff) to the most sophisticated electronics.

We always had one aircraft that was known as the "PECM Bird." If you'll recall the USS Forrestal "Trial By Fire" Training Film, one of the last RVAH-11 Vigilantes shown being pushed over the side was relatively intact and landed in the water upside down. It was very clear in the flick, Well, that was our PECM Bird. Its jettisoning was a point of controversy later on since the PECM gear, at that time, was secret and quite sensitive and there was some concern that the water in the area wasn't sufficiently deep to prevent the Russkies from recovering the gear. Since we were always shadowed by Russian "Bears" and "Fishing Boats" that bristled with antennas, they obviously knew exactly where we dumped every aircraft.


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