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Northrop Grumman completes first RAAF Growler ‘shipset’

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 27, 2015

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The first RAAF EA-18G Growler centre/rear fuselage ‘shipset’ is inspected by Northrop Grumman staff at El Segundo. (Northrop Grumman)

The centre and rear fuselage ‘shipset’ for the RAAF’s first EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft has been completed by Super Hornet program sub-contractor, Northrop Grumman.

The milestone shipset represents the one hundredth Hornet, Super Hornet and Growler shipset Northrop Grumman has manufactured for the RAAF, after the 75 classic Hornets which were built in the 1980s, and the 24 Super Hornets which were delivered from 2010.

The centre and rear fuselage, vertical tails and associated sub-systems are manufactured at Northrop Grumman’s El Segundo facility near Los Angeles Airport, before being shipped to Boeing in St Louis for mating with the aircraft’s wings, forward fuselage and other components during final assembly.

The sub-contractor arrangement is a continuation of the partnership between Northrop and McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing) from the 1970s where the two companies jointly developed and marketed the land-based and naval versions of the original F/A-18.

“We are honoured to celebrate this significant milestone with the U.S. Navy and our industry partners,” the RAAF Director General Capability Planning (DGCP), AIRCDRE Michael Kitcher said in a statement. “I am confident that Growler will provide our air force with the most versatile and effective airborne electronic attack platform in the world.”


Added Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems F/A-18 program manager and director, John Murnane: “Production of the first international Growler shipset marks another important milestone in Northrop Grumman’s storied history as a volume producer of advanced aircraft systems of unmatched quality. Our consistent record of on-time, on-budget performance helps give Australia critical, new offensive and defensive options for its air combat operations.”

The first RAAF Growler is scheduled to commence flight tests in early 2016. RAAF crews are currently embedded within US Navy Growler squadrons to learn the specialist electronic warfare skillset, and these crews will form the first cadre of instructor pilots and electronic warfare officers for the RAAF when the first EA-18Gs are delivered to Amberley in 2017.

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Comments (9)

  • TomcatTerry


    Awesome capability coming for RAAF. US have increased their orders to NG as well recently if I remember a past AA story? Obviously recognised the global instabilities warrants more airframes?

  • Captain


    Bring it on!!

  • Corey


    Australia should upgrade the Growlers to the Advanced Growlers and buy an additional 12-24 of them along with buying an additional 216 F/A-18 E/F Advanced Super Hornets and base them at RAAF Base Curtin or Learmoth, Christmas Island, East Timore, PNG, Vanuatu, RAAF Base Darwin or Tindal, RAAF Base Townsville and RAAF Base Scherger along with buying 4 additional new C-17s to the current order of 2 and then buy 24-36 second-hand C-17s form the US but have the lowest flying hrs and youngest aircraft possible and then buy 24-48 A400Ms and 18 KC-30A 242t MTOW with a freighter stranghtened floor, landing gear and door but also have the passenger seats and windows and buy 4 Boeing 747-8 freighters for non tactical cargo along with 2 747-8 BBjs for VIP jets as they can fly from Australia to New year non stop with 100 passengers on boards and only cost less than $15,000 per hour to operate with the possibility of aerial refuelling.

  • John N


    Corey, Corey, Corey, mate, what can I say? Are you serious??

    Can you please explain under what change of strategic circumstances does Australia face to go on such a massive expansion of our combat aircraft fleet and transport fleets? (Are we planning to ‘invade’ someone?).

    And even if we aren’t going to invade someone, doing such as you suggest, and the basing locations too, would certainly upset a lot of our near neighbours who would all wonder way the Australian Government has made such an ‘aggressive’ change to our outlook in the region, it would start an arms race right on our doorstep!

    And can you also explain where the many many 10’s of Billions of Dollars are coming from to purchase such a vast amount of extra military aircraft? Where are the many many 10’s of Billions of Dollars coming from to upgrade and expand all the bases, pay for the support and maintenance of such a vast fleet, and lets not forget the significant increase in manpower too, seriously, you aren’t serious are you??

    One more thing, there is no such thing as an ‘Advanced’ Growler or ‘Advanced’ Super Hornet, it is a concept that Boeing is pushing and unless the USN or some other Country orders the ASH or AG, then they are never going to happen, sure some ‘elements’ of the proposed ASH may be picked up by the USN, then and only then, would those elements make their way through the upgrade process and filter through to our Super Hornets and Growlers.

    Anyway Corey, what more can I say? Except to say, it’s never going to happen!!


    John N

  • Trev


    Wow Corey, too much red cordial again.

  • Madmax


    Corey, you left out bringing the SR71 out of retirement and into RAAF service, buddy!

  • Pig Fixer


    Troll, Trolling here!!

    He also forgot to reinvigorate the F-111 with improved avionics and some sheet metal changes, that Aust should have (not get, but already have) the F-22, that we really should have the F-15 and that Australia should also make public it’s stockpile of Nukes……..

    Troll away buddy…….. Your real name’s not Karlo is it?

  • Another Guest


    Pig Fixer,

    I totally agree that the RAAF should’ve the F-15.

  • stuart


    the f 15 should have been in RAAF service this true …. but WOW …me thinks cory might be a 15 yr old with stars in his eyes when it comes to the RAAF & Australia in general OH YES AND SOME RED CORDIAL WELL PAST ITS USED BY DATE !!!

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