The US DoD has approved the EA-18G Growler, or ‘Grizzly’ as it will be known colloquially in US Navy service, for full rate production following it being declared operationally effective and suitable for service entry in late July.
The USN has to date taken delivery of about 15 Growlers out of an initial low rate production order for 34 aircraft, while a full rate production contract should see an additional 54 aircraft ordered over a multi-year period.
“Full rate production for the EA-18G is critical, as it enables Boeing to quickly ramp up production of the US Navy’s newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform, and rapidly get this new capability to the warfighter,” said Bob Gower, F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president for Boeing in a statement. “The FRP decision is also a clear indication of DoD support for the EA-18G program and the immediate capability it will provide combatant commanders around the world.”
The EA-18G is an electronic attack variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, and is replacing the EA-6B Prowler in USN service. The RAAF has ordered 12 of its 24 Super Hornets to be fitted with the required wiring, avionics racks and conduits during production for possible conversion to EA-18Gs at a later date.