The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has gained advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability with Boeing’s delivery of the first EA-18G Growler aircraft.
The shipment is part of a contract concluded in 2014 which will see Boeing present RAAF with 12 Growlers under a foreign military sales agreement with the US Navy.
The EA-18G is a derivative of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and the only aircraft in production providing tactical jamming and electronic protection.
The delivery makes Australia the first country other than the US to obtain this aircraft and supports its “Plan Jericho” initiative to transform the RAAF into an integrated, networked force able to deliver air power in all operating environments.
“The Growlers will complement our existing and future air combat capability, and we will be much more lethal with this AEA protection,” said Air Marshal Geoff Brown, former chief of the RAAF.
“In many respects, it’s the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle for the RAAF.”
The Growler will fly to Naval Air Station China Lake, California for flight testing and then Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, where RAAF operators will continue training with US Navy pilots to gain expertise in the highly technical electronic warfare mission.
“Growlers are the cutting edge of electronic warfare,” said Rear Admiral Donald Gaddis, US Navy Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs.
“As the US Navy and RAAF continue to train and operate together we welcome Australia’s strategic step to advance the capabilities of our joint partners for years of future success.”
The RAAF – whose current fleet includes Boeing’s E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control, C-17 Globemaster III and CH-47F Chinook, as well as the Hornet and Super Hornet – is expected to take delivery of the aircraft in-country in 2017.