The RAAF’s first pilot instructor has commenced flying on the EA-18G Growler in the US.
FLTLT Sean Rutledge has commenced training with the Electronic Attack Wing, US Pacific Fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Once he’s completed his training, FLTLT Rutledge will be qualified to instruct other RAAF aircrew for the 12 EA-18G Growlers the Australian government is purchasing via the United States Foreign Military Sales program.
“We’ve started early as there is an awful lot to learn between now and when we begin flying our own EA-18Gs in 2017. The support that we have had from the US Navy, particularly from Captain Springett and his team here at NAS Whidbey Island has been truly magnificent. They have really made us feel welcome as new members of the community,” WGCDR Paul Jarvis, Deputy Director EA-18G Growler Transition team said.
“Growler is a game-changer for the Royal Australian Air Force. With its unique mix of capabilities it provides multiple options to commanders, all of which reduce the risk to supported Australian Defence Force or coalition forces whilst increasing their lethality.”
Over the next three years, six RAAF crews (comprised one pilot and one electronic warfare officer) will learn to fly the Growler with the US Navy’s VAQ-129, with assistance from the US Program Management Office (PMA-265) at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland.