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Go for RAAF Growlers?

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 29, 2012
Long lead items are being acquired for a potential RAAF Growler buy.

Australia is to purchase long-lead items for the “potential conversion of 12 of the RAAF’s F/A-18 Super Hornets to the EA-18G Growler variant”, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced today.

In a statement the ministers stressed that no Growler acquisition decision has been made yet, but that the $19 million purchase of items including electronic systems, antennas and high-frequency modulation receivers kept the option open.

“The decision to purchase this equipment has been made now to ensure Australia continues to have potential access to the Growler technology. A final decision on whether Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration will be made after exhaustive assessment by the government this year. This purchase ensures Australia will continue to have access to specific technologies needed to make any such conversion,” the statement reads.

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“The purchase of this equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process. As part of this process, a Letter of Request formally requesting the purchase has been delivered to the United States.”

Twelve of Australia’s 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets have been pre-wired for potential conversion to the Growler configuration.

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

17 Comments

  • pez

    says:

    It seems pretty certain that this will go ahead. I assume however that somewhere, someone checked with the the USN that they’d buy back anything we bought if we didn’t go ahead. Otherwise $19m buys a lot of shoes and socks.

  • AA Cunningham

    says:

    Without the nonexportable ALQ-99, the Aussies will only have a limited SEAD/ELINT platform.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    AA Cunningham

    The ALQ-99 pods are releasable, and are available to the ADF if we decide we want them. There is talk of reopening production of the ALQ-99, or we may choose to wait until the Next Gen Jammer is available later this decade.

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Milne Bay

    says:

    No, we haven’t decided whether we are buying a Holden, but we have just ordered a heap of parts that only a Holden can use. Sounds like how I explain a new car purchase to my wife. She’s not stupid either …………
    Why does the gov’t play this game? Nothing at all to do with that promised budget surplus and forward estimates is it?

  • Darren

    says:

    This would be a real capability growth for the RAAF. Long overdue in my opinion. Still think we should get a Sqn or two ‘E’s to gap fill till the F-35’s get FOC.

  • Allan

    says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Look`s like another decision made for the good of Australia. For so long we have lagged behind others in getting this capability. Looks like the Super`s will be with us for more than the ten years originally slated. Let`s hope once we get this capability it is exploited to the full. If the conversion work can be done here in Australia all the better.

    Should the U.S. start up production of the next gen jammer or reopen the ALQ-99 line, We should have some people from the Edinburgh EW wing in there on start up. With what they achieved with wiring the pig`s EW gear a couple of years back it would definitly benefit Australia in the long run. Also might give the F-35 some awesome back up, electronically speaking.

    While we are at it i wonder if the harm missiles are included or are there other anti radiation missiles in the offering?

    Cheers.

  • Mark

    says:

    G’day Andrew, whats your personal thoughts of the F 15 Silent Eagle?, do you think it is a better aircraft then the F 18 Super Hornet and should the RAAF look into the Silent Eagle?.

  • John N

    says:

    I hope the money can be found for this very important project.

    With this Goverments mad rush to a surplus this coming budget (and the need for that is another story!) it remains to be seen if the money can be found.

    At the very least we should convert 6 to Growler “lite”, whether we go to full Growler with ALQ-99’s now or wait till the Next Gen Jammers (NGJ), remains to be seen.

    I think the really exciting part of this for RAAF is that, from what I have read, the USN is ultimately planning to fit the NGJ to the F-35.

    If the RAAF can learn its AEA craft on the Growler and then eventually, when the Super Hornets are retired, we can carry over the NGJ pods to some of our F-35’s, take advantage of the skill and knowledge that has been learnt, it will help to keep us ahead of the airforces in our region.

    If what I’m suggesting above can be done, it will certainly make the purchase of the Super Hornets one of the smarter decisions that have been taken by goverments of this country.

  • Peter

    says:

    Hello Mark

    I reckon the F-15SE Silent Eagle is far better than the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which the F-15 is a combat-proven aircraft the RAAF should be considering to fulfill there requirements.

    The F-15SE can be modified with the APG-82 AESA, F110-GE-132 engines with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles with supercruising mode (without using afterburners and saving fuel) as a replacement for the expensive to maintain and older 23 lb PW engines as a consideration, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, IRST sensor pod etc.

    Another alternative which I had been thinking for a while is to modify the pro-posed single-seat F-15F variant, based on the two-seat F-15E.

    Cheers

  • Wayne

    says:

    The Super Hornet is combat proven. Good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . the US Navy; good enough for us. A mix of Super Hornets/Growlers and a batch of 40-50 F-35A’s plus maybe a few extra KC-30’s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Peter

    says:

    The EA-18G Growler is still the wrong aircraft and its a waste. This aircraft is based on the F/A-18F variant which lacks the range, persistance and survivability to support the strike platforms that penetrate deep into contested airspace. In an assessment of a 2012 Major Combat Operations, the Institude for Defence Analyses determined that the EA-18G was not designed to survive with in defended airspace and thus must provide AEA from standoff distances, a concept of operations that is ill-suited for supporting penetrating strike platforms.

    Not only cannot the EA-18G keep up with a strike package, but it isn’t designed to survive combat against today’s 2012 benchmark threats of Su-30s / S-300s. So what about tomorrow’s threats like the Su-35S Super Flanker-E /
    S-400 and the T-50 PAK-FA / S-500 in the near to mid term?

    The Super Hornet is not really a combat proven. Certainly not good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . The US Navy; not good enough for us. I’d say a mix fleet of around 55-65 advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagles or Silent Eagles and a batch of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon plus maybe a few extra KC-30′s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

    The F/A-18 fleet cannot currently meet its peacetime fighter availability requirements, with the remaining fatigue life in Australia’s F/A-18A/B fleet to expire over this decade, further costly structural and enhancement program to replace fuselage centre barrels has been initiated to stretch the life of these aircraft. APG-73 radar, electronic warfare, guided weapon and missile upgrades and software will diminish this availability even further. The acquisition of Russian designed Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flanker series fighters by most regional nations now presents an environment where the F/A-18A/B and F/A-18F Super Hornet is outclassed in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic, large armament load, radar and sensor performance by widely available fighters.

    In some respects the F/A-18F Super Hornet Block 2 are not very good air combat planes and if Australia have to use them as a bridging capability gap. This aircraft has similar performance and capability deficiencies to the F-35, and is equally incapable of credibly performing against modern regional threats. The sting in the aircraft’s tail is certainly not their, perhaps the nickname called “Super Dog” and there is no way the Super Dog can be expected to hold it’s own with the modern Russian sourced fighters coming into service now in our region. The aircraft is equipped with the APG-79 AESA which is a competitive design, however in its key metric of detection range performance it has already been outclassed by the Tikhomirov NIIP Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) radar designed for the Su-35BM/Su-35S-1 Super Flanker-E, Plus and available as an upgrade for the regional Su-30MKI and Su-30MKM Flanker-H.

    Its also been claimed that the Su-35 will possibly feature a rear warning radar. The ability for the Flanker to launch AAMs backwards as an effective protection against attack from behind.

    The F/A-18A/B Hornet Upgrade Program (HUG) / F/A-18F Super Hornet BACC (Bridging Air Combat Capability) has a poor survivability due to inferior acceleration, poor agility, short range and limited weapons payload vs Sukhoi Su-27/30/35 Flanker; significant dependency on AEW&C and tankers to provide useful capability, the Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are aerodynamically uncompetitive aircraft provides little useful capability in primary roles. The Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence, two or more aircraft required to match range/weapons payload of single F-111, F-15E or any high capability fighter (large airframes).

    Neither does the Joint Strike Failure which is also a wrong aircraft too.

  • Peter

    says:

    Again its called the F/A-18E/F “Super Dog” certainly not a Hornet, is because it has a missing sting in its tail.

    Going ahead and pre-wire 12 of the Super’s into the Growler/Grizzly jammer configuration comes with a big problem; the jamming kit is obsolete and the U.S. Navy knew it when they fielded the aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

    The F-15 family of aircraft has a perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats. F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35 fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

    The F-15 offers far better long range endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity and a small fleet with either Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

Leave a Comment to Allan Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go for RAAF Growlers?

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 29, 2012
Long lead items are being acquired for a potential RAAF Growler buy.

Australia is to purchase long-lead items for the “potential conversion of 12 of the RAAF’s F/A-18 Super Hornets to the EA-18G Growler variant”, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced today.

In a statement the ministers stressed that no Growler acquisition decision has been made yet, but that the $19 million purchase of items including electronic systems, antennas and high-frequency modulation receivers kept the option open.

“The decision to purchase this equipment has been made now to ensure Australia continues to have potential access to the Growler technology. A final decision on whether Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration will be made after exhaustive assessment by the government this year. This purchase ensures Australia will continue to have access to specific technologies needed to make any such conversion,” the statement reads.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“The purchase of this equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process. As part of this process, a Letter of Request formally requesting the purchase has been delivered to the United States.”

Twelve of Australia’s 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets have been pre-wired for potential conversion to the Growler configuration.

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

17 Comments

  • pez

    says:

    It seems pretty certain that this will go ahead. I assume however that somewhere, someone checked with the the USN that they’d buy back anything we bought if we didn’t go ahead. Otherwise $19m buys a lot of shoes and socks.

  • AA Cunningham

    says:

    Without the nonexportable ALQ-99, the Aussies will only have a limited SEAD/ELINT platform.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    AA Cunningham

    The ALQ-99 pods are releasable, and are available to the ADF if we decide we want them. There is talk of reopening production of the ALQ-99, or we may choose to wait until the Next Gen Jammer is available later this decade.

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Milne Bay

    says:

    No, we haven’t decided whether we are buying a Holden, but we have just ordered a heap of parts that only a Holden can use. Sounds like how I explain a new car purchase to my wife. She’s not stupid either …………
    Why does the gov’t play this game? Nothing at all to do with that promised budget surplus and forward estimates is it?

  • Darren

    says:

    This would be a real capability growth for the RAAF. Long overdue in my opinion. Still think we should get a Sqn or two ‘E’s to gap fill till the F-35’s get FOC.

  • Allan

    says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Look`s like another decision made for the good of Australia. For so long we have lagged behind others in getting this capability. Looks like the Super`s will be with us for more than the ten years originally slated. Let`s hope once we get this capability it is exploited to the full. If the conversion work can be done here in Australia all the better.

    Should the U.S. start up production of the next gen jammer or reopen the ALQ-99 line, We should have some people from the Edinburgh EW wing in there on start up. With what they achieved with wiring the pig`s EW gear a couple of years back it would definitly benefit Australia in the long run. Also might give the F-35 some awesome back up, electronically speaking.

    While we are at it i wonder if the harm missiles are included or are there other anti radiation missiles in the offering?

    Cheers.

  • Mark

    says:

    G’day Andrew, whats your personal thoughts of the F 15 Silent Eagle?, do you think it is a better aircraft then the F 18 Super Hornet and should the RAAF look into the Silent Eagle?.

  • John N

    says:

    I hope the money can be found for this very important project.

    With this Goverments mad rush to a surplus this coming budget (and the need for that is another story!) it remains to be seen if the money can be found.

    At the very least we should convert 6 to Growler “lite”, whether we go to full Growler with ALQ-99’s now or wait till the Next Gen Jammers (NGJ), remains to be seen.

    I think the really exciting part of this for RAAF is that, from what I have read, the USN is ultimately planning to fit the NGJ to the F-35.

    If the RAAF can learn its AEA craft on the Growler and then eventually, when the Super Hornets are retired, we can carry over the NGJ pods to some of our F-35’s, take advantage of the skill and knowledge that has been learnt, it will help to keep us ahead of the airforces in our region.

    If what I’m suggesting above can be done, it will certainly make the purchase of the Super Hornets one of the smarter decisions that have been taken by goverments of this country.

  • Peter

    says:

    Hello Mark

    I reckon the F-15SE Silent Eagle is far better than the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which the F-15 is a combat-proven aircraft the RAAF should be considering to fulfill there requirements.

    The F-15SE can be modified with the APG-82 AESA, F110-GE-132 engines with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles with supercruising mode (without using afterburners and saving fuel) as a replacement for the expensive to maintain and older 23 lb PW engines as a consideration, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, IRST sensor pod etc.

    Another alternative which I had been thinking for a while is to modify the pro-posed single-seat F-15F variant, based on the two-seat F-15E.

    Cheers

  • Wayne

    says:

    The Super Hornet is combat proven. Good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . the US Navy; good enough for us. A mix of Super Hornets/Growlers and a batch of 40-50 F-35A’s plus maybe a few extra KC-30’s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Peter

    says:

    The EA-18G Growler is still the wrong aircraft and its a waste. This aircraft is based on the F/A-18F variant which lacks the range, persistance and survivability to support the strike platforms that penetrate deep into contested airspace. In an assessment of a 2012 Major Combat Operations, the Institude for Defence Analyses determined that the EA-18G was not designed to survive with in defended airspace and thus must provide AEA from standoff distances, a concept of operations that is ill-suited for supporting penetrating strike platforms.

    Not only cannot the EA-18G keep up with a strike package, but it isn’t designed to survive combat against today’s 2012 benchmark threats of Su-30s / S-300s. So what about tomorrow’s threats like the Su-35S Super Flanker-E /
    S-400 and the T-50 PAK-FA / S-500 in the near to mid term?

    The Super Hornet is not really a combat proven. Certainly not good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . The US Navy; not good enough for us. I’d say a mix fleet of around 55-65 advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagles or Silent Eagles and a batch of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon plus maybe a few extra KC-30′s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

    The F/A-18 fleet cannot currently meet its peacetime fighter availability requirements, with the remaining fatigue life in Australia’s F/A-18A/B fleet to expire over this decade, further costly structural and enhancement program to replace fuselage centre barrels has been initiated to stretch the life of these aircraft. APG-73 radar, electronic warfare, guided weapon and missile upgrades and software will diminish this availability even further. The acquisition of Russian designed Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flanker series fighters by most regional nations now presents an environment where the F/A-18A/B and F/A-18F Super Hornet is outclassed in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic, large armament load, radar and sensor performance by widely available fighters.

    In some respects the F/A-18F Super Hornet Block 2 are not very good air combat planes and if Australia have to use them as a bridging capability gap. This aircraft has similar performance and capability deficiencies to the F-35, and is equally incapable of credibly performing against modern regional threats. The sting in the aircraft’s tail is certainly not their, perhaps the nickname called “Super Dog” and there is no way the Super Dog can be expected to hold it’s own with the modern Russian sourced fighters coming into service now in our region. The aircraft is equipped with the APG-79 AESA which is a competitive design, however in its key metric of detection range performance it has already been outclassed by the Tikhomirov NIIP Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) radar designed for the Su-35BM/Su-35S-1 Super Flanker-E, Plus and available as an upgrade for the regional Su-30MKI and Su-30MKM Flanker-H.

    Its also been claimed that the Su-35 will possibly feature a rear warning radar. The ability for the Flanker to launch AAMs backwards as an effective protection against attack from behind.

    The F/A-18A/B Hornet Upgrade Program (HUG) / F/A-18F Super Hornet BACC (Bridging Air Combat Capability) has a poor survivability due to inferior acceleration, poor agility, short range and limited weapons payload vs Sukhoi Su-27/30/35 Flanker; significant dependency on AEW&C and tankers to provide useful capability, the Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are aerodynamically uncompetitive aircraft provides little useful capability in primary roles. The Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence, two or more aircraft required to match range/weapons payload of single F-111, F-15E or any high capability fighter (large airframes).

    Neither does the Joint Strike Failure which is also a wrong aircraft too.

  • Peter

    says:

    Again its called the F/A-18E/F “Super Dog” certainly not a Hornet, is because it has a missing sting in its tail.

    Going ahead and pre-wire 12 of the Super’s into the Growler/Grizzly jammer configuration comes with a big problem; the jamming kit is obsolete and the U.S. Navy knew it when they fielded the aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

    The F-15 family of aircraft has a perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats. F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35 fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

    The F-15 offers far better long range endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity and a small fleet with either Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

Leave a Comment to Allan Cancel

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go for RAAF Growlers?

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 29, 2012
Long lead items are being acquired for a potential RAAF Growler buy.

Australia is to purchase long-lead items for the “potential conversion of 12 of the RAAF’s F/A-18 Super Hornets to the EA-18G Growler variant”, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced today.

In a statement the ministers stressed that no Growler acquisition decision has been made yet, but that the $19 million purchase of items including electronic systems, antennas and high-frequency modulation receivers kept the option open.

“The decision to purchase this equipment has been made now to ensure Australia continues to have potential access to the Growler technology. A final decision on whether Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration will be made after exhaustive assessment by the government this year. This purchase ensures Australia will continue to have access to specific technologies needed to make any such conversion,” the statement reads.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“The purchase of this equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process. As part of this process, a Letter of Request formally requesting the purchase has been delivered to the United States.”

Twelve of Australia’s 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets have been pre-wired for potential conversion to the Growler configuration.

25% off starts now! Australian Aviation magazine Cyber Monday sale is now live. Have the very best of Australian Aviation’s annual print and digital subscription. This includes every In Focus and Behind the Lens digital magazine, special coverage, exclusive photos and editions you may have miss. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

17 Comments

  • pez

    says:

    It seems pretty certain that this will go ahead. I assume however that somewhere, someone checked with the the USN that they’d buy back anything we bought if we didn’t go ahead. Otherwise $19m buys a lot of shoes and socks.

  • AA Cunningham

    says:

    Without the nonexportable ALQ-99, the Aussies will only have a limited SEAD/ELINT platform.

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    AA Cunningham

    The ALQ-99 pods are releasable, and are available to the ADF if we decide we want them. There is talk of reopening production of the ALQ-99, or we may choose to wait until the Next Gen Jammer is available later this decade.

    Andrew McLaughlin

  • Milne Bay

    says:

    No, we haven’t decided whether we are buying a Holden, but we have just ordered a heap of parts that only a Holden can use. Sounds like how I explain a new car purchase to my wife. She’s not stupid either …………
    Why does the gov’t play this game? Nothing at all to do with that promised budget surplus and forward estimates is it?

  • Darren

    says:

    This would be a real capability growth for the RAAF. Long overdue in my opinion. Still think we should get a Sqn or two ‘E’s to gap fill till the F-35’s get FOC.

  • Allan

    says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Look`s like another decision made for the good of Australia. For so long we have lagged behind others in getting this capability. Looks like the Super`s will be with us for more than the ten years originally slated. Let`s hope once we get this capability it is exploited to the full. If the conversion work can be done here in Australia all the better.

    Should the U.S. start up production of the next gen jammer or reopen the ALQ-99 line, We should have some people from the Edinburgh EW wing in there on start up. With what they achieved with wiring the pig`s EW gear a couple of years back it would definitly benefit Australia in the long run. Also might give the F-35 some awesome back up, electronically speaking.

    While we are at it i wonder if the harm missiles are included or are there other anti radiation missiles in the offering?

    Cheers.

  • Mark

    says:

    G’day Andrew, whats your personal thoughts of the F 15 Silent Eagle?, do you think it is a better aircraft then the F 18 Super Hornet and should the RAAF look into the Silent Eagle?.

  • John N

    says:

    I hope the money can be found for this very important project.

    With this Goverments mad rush to a surplus this coming budget (and the need for that is another story!) it remains to be seen if the money can be found.

    At the very least we should convert 6 to Growler “lite”, whether we go to full Growler with ALQ-99’s now or wait till the Next Gen Jammers (NGJ), remains to be seen.

    I think the really exciting part of this for RAAF is that, from what I have read, the USN is ultimately planning to fit the NGJ to the F-35.

    If the RAAF can learn its AEA craft on the Growler and then eventually, when the Super Hornets are retired, we can carry over the NGJ pods to some of our F-35’s, take advantage of the skill and knowledge that has been learnt, it will help to keep us ahead of the airforces in our region.

    If what I’m suggesting above can be done, it will certainly make the purchase of the Super Hornets one of the smarter decisions that have been taken by goverments of this country.

  • Peter

    says:

    Hello Mark

    I reckon the F-15SE Silent Eagle is far better than the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which the F-15 is a combat-proven aircraft the RAAF should be considering to fulfill there requirements.

    The F-15SE can be modified with the APG-82 AESA, F110-GE-132 engines with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles with supercruising mode (without using afterburners and saving fuel) as a replacement for the expensive to maintain and older 23 lb PW engines as a consideration, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation) 3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, IRST sensor pod etc.

    Another alternative which I had been thinking for a while is to modify the pro-posed single-seat F-15F variant, based on the two-seat F-15E.

    Cheers

  • Wayne

    says:

    The Super Hornet is combat proven. Good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . the US Navy; good enough for us. A mix of Super Hornets/Growlers and a batch of 40-50 F-35A’s plus maybe a few extra KC-30’s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Brett + Pete

    says:

    do we really need that many
    ??????????????

  • Peter

    says:

    The EA-18G Growler is still the wrong aircraft and its a waste. This aircraft is based on the F/A-18F variant which lacks the range, persistance and survivability to support the strike platforms that penetrate deep into contested airspace. In an assessment of a 2012 Major Combat Operations, the Institude for Defence Analyses determined that the EA-18G was not designed to survive with in defended airspace and thus must provide AEA from standoff distances, a concept of operations that is ill-suited for supporting penetrating strike platforms.

    Not only cannot the EA-18G keep up with a strike package, but it isn’t designed to survive combat against today’s 2012 benchmark threats of Su-30s / S-300s. So what about tomorrow’s threats like the Su-35S Super Flanker-E /
    S-400 and the T-50 PAK-FA / S-500 in the near to mid term?

    The Super Hornet is not really a combat proven. Certainly not good enough for the second largest “air Force” in the world . The US Navy; not good enough for us. I’d say a mix fleet of around 55-65 advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagles or Silent Eagles and a batch of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon plus maybe a few extra KC-30′s is the answer. No-one else in our area comes close.

    The F/A-18 fleet cannot currently meet its peacetime fighter availability requirements, with the remaining fatigue life in Australia’s F/A-18A/B fleet to expire over this decade, further costly structural and enhancement program to replace fuselage centre barrels has been initiated to stretch the life of these aircraft. APG-73 radar, electronic warfare, guided weapon and missile upgrades and software will diminish this availability even further. The acquisition of Russian designed Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flanker series fighters by most regional nations now presents an environment where the F/A-18A/B and F/A-18F Super Hornet is outclassed in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic, large armament load, radar and sensor performance by widely available fighters.

    In some respects the F/A-18F Super Hornet Block 2 are not very good air combat planes and if Australia have to use them as a bridging capability gap. This aircraft has similar performance and capability deficiencies to the F-35, and is equally incapable of credibly performing against modern regional threats. The sting in the aircraft’s tail is certainly not their, perhaps the nickname called “Super Dog” and there is no way the Super Dog can be expected to hold it’s own with the modern Russian sourced fighters coming into service now in our region. The aircraft is equipped with the APG-79 AESA which is a competitive design, however in its key metric of detection range performance it has already been outclassed by the Tikhomirov NIIP Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) radar designed for the Su-35BM/Su-35S-1 Super Flanker-E, Plus and available as an upgrade for the regional Su-30MKI and Su-30MKM Flanker-H.

    Its also been claimed that the Su-35 will possibly feature a rear warning radar. The ability for the Flanker to launch AAMs backwards as an effective protection against attack from behind.

    The F/A-18A/B Hornet Upgrade Program (HUG) / F/A-18F Super Hornet BACC (Bridging Air Combat Capability) has a poor survivability due to inferior acceleration, poor agility, short range and limited weapons payload vs Sukhoi Su-27/30/35 Flanker; significant dependency on AEW&C and tankers to provide useful capability, the Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are aerodynamically uncompetitive aircraft provides little useful capability in primary roles. The Classic Hornet / Super Hornet are unsuited for bomber and cruise missile defence, two or more aircraft required to match range/weapons payload of single F-111, F-15E or any high capability fighter (large airframes).

    Neither does the Joint Strike Failure which is also a wrong aircraft too.

  • Peter

    says:

    Again its called the F/A-18E/F “Super Dog” certainly not a Hornet, is because it has a missing sting in its tail.

    Going ahead and pre-wire 12 of the Super’s into the Growler/Grizzly jammer configuration comes with a big problem; the jamming kit is obsolete and the U.S. Navy knew it when they fielded the aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

    The F-15 family of aircraft has a perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats. F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35 fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

    The F-15 offers far better long range endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X aircraft.

  • Peter

    says:

    While outside analysts like Stratfor noted the F/A-18’s shortcomings. I propose the longer-ranger F-15E+ Strike Eagle or F-15SE Silent Eagle with higher ordnance capacity and a small fleet with either Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale as a better F/A-18A/B replacement. I strongly disagree that statement from the former Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

    “The F-15E+ or F-15SE costs about $100 m each. In comparison, some aspects of the Silent Eagle package make it a promising possibility. Boeing is talking about a $100 million price tag per aircraft, a significantly longer range than the stingless F/A-18E/F Super Dog (Hornet) and lemon F-35 Joint Strike Failure, and a maintenance infrastructure that could be based on the one for Israel’s F-15 fleet.. The F-15 is not approaching the end of its life. It also has a low observable profile which is attractive to our country’s needs. The F-15 certainly doesn’t have a limited transferability in terms of weapons. We should be a Eagle country.”

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