The aircraft we present today is the famed Boeing EA-18G Growler which sit eh carried based aircraft used for electronic warfare by the Untied States Navy. This is a specially modified version of the other US navy aircraft known as the F/A/-18F Super Hornet.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler was specially designed in order to replace the US navy’s aging aircraft fleet of Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers. As for the electronic warfare capabilities of the Boeing EA-18G Growler, they are the same which were provided in the Northrop Grumman EA-6B prowlers but with upgrades.
The production of the Boeing EA-18G Growler started back in 2007 and it entered the service of the US navy back in the 2009. Other country to which has purchased the Boeing EA-18G Growler is Australia which actually has 12 of these state of the art electronic warfare aircraft in its military arsenal. These 12 Boeing EA-18G Growlers entered service of the RAAF back in 2017.
For our readers today, we have gathered a few amazing facts about the Boeing EA-18G Growler which are as follows.
The ultimate Electronic Warfare Aircraft
The Boeing EA-18G Growler happens to be the US navy’s electronic warfare aircraft with a newer design in the three decades and was also the fourth largest modification ever made to the F/A-18 family of aircraft. The Boeing EA-18G was equipped with the ALQ-218 receiver as the technology for its electronic attack along with the ALQ-99 jamming pods that allowed for the countermeasures against the communication countermeasures and the satellite communications.
These were the reasons that made the Boeing EA-18G Growler as the ultimate electronic warfare aircraft its era with super powered electronic jamming capabilities.
Primary electronic attack aircraft of the US Navy
The Boeing EA-18G Growler became the flagship of the US navy’s fleet of electronic warfare aircraft after replacing the aging fleet of the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler. The transition of the fleet from Prowler to Growler has been described bets by Matthew Morris of the Structural Mechanics’ 3rd class as “Growler is the Rolls Royce of jets while Prowler is the old Chevy”. However, all of these new and state of the art features came with their set of problems.
Electronic attack as well as a fighter aircraft
New is not always the easy one. Same was the case for the Boeing EA-18G Growler as the Navy faced many problems in adjusting to this new brand of aircraft with its enhanced capabilities. The main difference between the Prowler and the Growler was the Growler came not only with electronic warfare systems but also with weapons system. As for the technological interface in the Boeing EA-18G Growler, it was also a new one and overcoming both of these major changes was a difficult thing to accomplish because not many of the US Navy’s pilot had epxerience3 with flying both the electronic warfare and the fighter aircraft at a the same time.
Another major change that made Growler be superior to Prowler was its defense system. Prowler came with no defense systems at all and for every mission Prowler flew for, it needed the escort of the fighter jets. As for the Boeing EA-18G Growler, it came with its own air-to-air defense systems. The Boeing EA-18G Growler was able to defend itself during its missions with its air-to-surface AMRAAM missiles. Due to this one of a kind defense mechanism installed in the Boeing EA-18G Growler, the commander of Navy was able to send in a Boeing EA-18G Growler for its solo mission which was previously a high risk action.
Training personnel of the Growler
One other major problem with Boeing EA-18G Growler initially was the training of the personnel to fly this aircraft as it had many advanced technologies and capabilities incorporated in it. A program was started for this named as the Fleet-Replacement program which had the first group by the name VAQ-129 Vikings that made their transition from flying Prowlers to Growlers successfully. This squadron was then also tasked with the responsibility of training the future personnel and pilots of the Boeing EA-18G Growler.
The Prowler was designed and manufactured by the Northrop Grumman along with all the electronic warfare capabilities installed in it. As for Boeing EA-18G Growler although it was mainly designed and created by the Boeing, Northrop also combined its forces for making the Boeing EA-18G Growler what it is today. The task for which Boeing was responsible included the following.
- Forward fuselage
- Final assembly
As for the tasks which the Northrop Grumman was tasked with includes the following.
- Rear fuselage
- Aircraft body
- Electronic systems
As for the communications to be carried from aircraft to the aircrew, it was made possible with help of the latest technology available in that era. Prowler had to undergo 60 hours of maintenance efforts from its flight missions whereas the Growler only required for 11 hours.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is regarded currently as the premium carrier based aircraft that has superior jamming and electronic protection. The very first flight test was conducted back in October 2006 and shortly after 2 years of the first flight, production for the aircraft started. The full scale production started in 2009 and the very first fleet of the Boeing EA-18G Growler was deployed in November 2010.
Rapidly catching eyes of foreign militaries
By the time it was 2014, US Navy already had a fleet of more than 100 Boeing EA-18G Growlers with plans to manufacture even more of them. Soon, other world militaries also started to see the prowess of this new aircraft and the main one to have noticed it was Australia. In 2013, the country purchased a fleet of 12 of these Boeing EA-18G Growlers and the very first one flew for the Royal Australian Air Force back in 2015. To note here is the fact is that this is the first ever aircraft on this level of intelligence which was built by the US and sold to another nation.
A single Boeing EA-18G Growler is powered by twin F414-GE-400 turbofan engines. Each of these engines is able to generate a thrust of 22000 pounds that allow for the aircraft to fly at a top speed of 1980 km/h at an altitude of 50000 feet. As for the combat range of the aircraft, it is well over 850 nautical miles.