RAAF enters electronic warfare era with Growler arrival

written by Robert Nutbrown | February 28, 2017
The Growlers arrive overhead Avalon. (Paul Sadler)

The Royal Australian Air Force’s new Boeing EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft have arrived at the Avalon Airshow on their public debut.

The aircraft flew in for their appearance at the airshow having recently been ferried to Australia from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in the US.

“This is a beast; it was built to be a war aircraft and that is exactly what we plan to use it for,” said Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies, welcoming the arrival of Australia’s first electronic warfare aircraft on Tuesday.

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“This is a precision instrument; it is something we can use to fit into the rest of the Australian [order of battle]; it is something that we need to learn how to use.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne announced that Australia is set to partner with the US in the development of a next-generation radar and radio jammer for the Growler with an investment of $250 million.

“Electronic warfare is a rapidly evolving area and we want to ensure that these aircraft remain at the technological forefront throughout their service life, so we will work in partnership with the United States Navy to develop that next-generation jamming capability,” Minister Payne said.

The Growler is capable of providing force-level electronic warfare support by disrupting, deceiving or denying access to an adversary’s electronic systems, including radars and communications systems.

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“Integration is the key; it is not just about aeroplanes,” Air Marshal Davies said.

“I expect this aeroplane to spend more time flying with the Army and the Navy than it actually does with the Air Force.”

By the middle of this year, all 12 aircraft are expected to have arrived at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland to be operated by 6 Squadron.

Australia is the only country besides the US to fly the Growler.

A Growler taxis into Avalon. (Paul Sadler)

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9 Comments

  • Paul

    says:

    Beautiful jet and a great capability.

  • Hayden R

    says:

    is this one of the original F/A-18Fs?

  • Dan

    says:

    Fantastic

  • Mick181

    says:

    No Hayden R, Australias Growlers are all brand new Aircraft. The original plan was to convert the last 12 Foxtrots to Growlers but that plan was scrapped and a further 12 aircraft purchased and all 24 Foxtrots will remain as such. Meaning a total of 36 Aircraft will come under 82 wing at Amberley.

  • Mick181

    says:

    Of course the other big thing that the Growlers introduce to the RAAF after decades of waiting is the HARM( high speed anti radiation missile) a specialised anti Radar missile.

  • Hayden R

    says:

    i’d love to see all 36 flyover SE QLD some time soon.

  • Peter

    says:

    No HARM no foul 😉

  • Tim Cheney

    says:

    If someone can get the serial numbers for those two Growlers I can make a start on a 1/48th scale RAAF EA-18G.

  • Darren

    says:

    Having worked on the F111 at 6SQN, I am pretty sure that the Boomerang on the tail of the new Growlers is facing the wrong way. Anyone else notice this.

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