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Boeing and the U.S. Navy today extended advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability to a key U.S. ally, presenting the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with its first EA-18G Growler. Australia is the first country other than the U.S. to obtain this aircraft.
“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.”
A derivative of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G is the only aircraft in production providing tactical jamming and electronic protection. The Growlers enhance the RAAF’s current fleet – which includes 24 Super Hornets – and advance ‘Plan Jericho,’ an initiative to transform the RAAF into an integrated, networked force able to deliver air power in all operating environments.
“Today, we celebrate enduring partnerships with the RAAF, U.S. Navy and our industry team,” said Chris Chadwick, Defense, Space & Security president and CEO. “The U.S. Navy, RAAF and Boeing’s continued investment and innovation mean the Growler is not only the world’s premier electronic attack platform today, but will remain so for many decades to come.”
The Growler will fly to Naval Air Station China Lake, Calif. for flight testing and then Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., where RAAF operators will continue training with U.S. Navy pilots to gain expertise in the highly technical electronic warfare mission. The RAAF is expected to take delivery of the aircraft in-country in 2017.
“Growlers are the cutting edge of electronic warfare,” said Rear Admiral Donald Gaddis, U.S. Navy Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs. “As the U.S. 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.”
In June 2014, Boeing was awarded the contract for 12 Growlers to be acquired by the RAAF under a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. Navy. For more than eight decades, Australia has collaborated with Boeing and its heritage companies on defense capability development, acquisition and support. The nation currently flies Boeing aircraft that include the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control, C-17 Globemaster III and CH-47F Chinook, in addition to the Hornet and Super Hornet. Boeing Defence Australia provides lifecycle sustainment services for the RAAF’s Super Hornets, C-17s, Wedgetails and other Boeing and non-Boeing platforms, and is a leading provider of complex network solutions for the Australian Defence Force.
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