Boeing EA-18G Growler

00 EA-18G_168900_NSAWC502_NAS Fallon

The Grumman EA-6B Prowler, predecessor of the Boeing EA-18G Growler, was taken out of service with the US Navy at the end of 2015. She had her maiden flight on 25 May 1968 and was put into service after a short successful trial in July 1971. By 1991, a total of 170 EA-6B Prowlers had been built. However, almost 50 Prowlers crashed, and there were already 20 EA-6Bs in the AMARG and by the end of 2015. It is used in the US Navy as an aircraft for electronic warfare. The main feature is the AN / ALQ-99 which was built into the tail, and is quite visible. Over the years, the Prowlers have undergone several combat enhancements, ICAP I-ICAP III, to keep the Prowlers on duty for as long as possible. The first EA-18Gs were already on their first cruise in 2011, but almost all Carrier Wings had the Prowlers in action for another 3 years. The final cruise of an EA-6B was with VAQ-134 “Garudas” on the USS George Bush CVN-77 (February-November 2014).

The USAF used the EA-6B after the suspension of its EF-111A. VAQ-129 “Vikings” flew with USAF crews who also carry the patch of the 390th ECS from Mountain Home AFB at a small point on their flight suits. The squadron upgraded to Boeing’s EA-18G Growler in July 2014, and since then, they have also participated in drills such as Red Flag.

The Grumman EA-6B Prowler was also used by the US Marines:

VMAQT-1 “Banshee” MCAS Cherry Point Marine Aircraft Group 14 (disestablished 2016)
VMAQ-2 “Death Jesters” MCAS Cherry Point Marine Aircraft Group 14 (disestablished 2019)
VMAQ-3 “Moon Dogs” MCAS Cherry Point Marine Aircraft Group 14 (disestablished 2018)
VMAQ-4 “Seahawks” MCAS Cherry Point Marine Aircraft Group 14 (disestablished 2017)

The Prowler is expected to remain in service with the US Marines until 2020 and is not expected to be replaced by Growler. [At the time this was written, the Prowler was still in Marine Corps use ed.].

Basically, the Boeing EA-18G is based on the Boeing F / A-18F Super Hornet. It has been produced since 2007, it had its first flight in August 2006 and commissioning in September 2009. At the moment 153 growlers are ordered, of which over 100 have been delivered (as of March 2015). Boeing hopes to get more orders from the US Navy to keep Hornet’s production line open. The first Cruise with Boeing EA-18G Growler was with the VAQ-141 Shadowhawks on the USS George H.W. Bush CVN-77 with the CVW-8 (May-December 2011), the Growler have been relocated after the return to NAS Norfolk to Japan to Carrier Wing 5 and the USS George Washington. The first CVW of the Atlantic or Pacific fleet, which has now gone on a cruise with Growler, is the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 (CVW-17).

The external differences are essentially the wing outer stations where the hardware AN / ALQ-218 (V) 2 is installed. The jammers with 66 antennas are based on the last final winding of the EA-6B Prowler, ICAP III. The core is formed by the three strong AN / ALQ-99 distance jamming systems, where the two wing-mounted gondolas are responsible for a high frequency range (1-20 GHz), while the nacelle under the fuselage is responsible for disturbing low-frequency radars (0.064-1 GHz). ensures. In order to be able to disturb also enemy communication systems, one deleted the installation of the M61-Vulcan cannon and the Communication Countermeasure set AN / ALQ-227 was installed. The Boeing EA-18G Growlers are armed with 2 AIM-9X Sidewinders or AIM-120 AMRAAM for self-protection. At the moment, AGM-88 HARM can still be used as countermeasures. Although the AESA technology used (AN / APG-79 on-board radar) enables a very powerful EloKa application, the range of effect is limited to the front 120 ° sector.

On September 22, 2009, the Boeing EA-18G Growler military termed (Initial Operating Capability), the last step was reached on 17.02.2011, the Growler is fully operational (Full Operational Capability). The first missions flew EA-18G Growler (VAQ-132 Scorpions) 2011 over Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn of Aviano / Italy. But even the tail of the growler was repainted from black / red to desert. After the expulsion of the Prowler and the India position of the Boeing EA-18G Growler, I’m curious how to deal with the crew of two men in the cockpit. Of course, in the last 30 years, the technique has been greatly simplified and focused on one essential, but 8 eyes always see more than four eyes. During my visit to the USS George Bush in 2011, the crews of the growlers were already very impressed with their new plane. It is much easier to fly, and the redesigned cockpit must also be a highlight. I could explain it to me, but unfortunately no photos of it were allowed. On the NAS Fallon you also fly two Boeing EA-18G Growler (168273 and 168900), where you are very satisfied with the usage profile of the growlers. At the moment the growlers appear almost everywhere, you have a lot of new machines and you would like to fly them extensively. During my last visit to the Luke AFB in March 2015, four EA-18G Growlers from the VAQ-136 “The Gauntlets” were also visiting.

Australia has received 24 F-18F. It was already considered in 2008 to procure six EA-18G Growler. But then they ordered and bought 24 F-18F Super Hornet, then in 2012 they wanted to rebuild 12 of these Super Hornets in Growler, whereby the US government should deliver all the parts needed. In May 2013, it has then changed its mind again and ordered 12 EA-18 Growler firmly from 2017 to be delivered.

General properties
Crew: Two
Length: 60 ft 1.25 in (18.31 m)
Wingspan: 44 m 8.5 in (13.62 m) (including pinnacle mounted pods)
Height: 16 feet (4.88 m)
Wing area: 500 m² (46.5 m²)
Curb weight: 33,094 £ (15,011 kg)
Weight: 48,000 pounds (21,772 kg); Recovery weight
Max. Take-off weight: 66,000 £ (29,964 kg)
Powerplant: 2 x General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
Dry thrust: 14,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
With thrust afterburner 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each:
Internal Fuel Tank: £ 13,940 (6323 kg)
External fuel tank: (3 x 480 gal tanks): £ 9,774 (4,420 kg) power
Top speed: Mach 1.8 (1190 mph, 1900 km / h) at 40,000 feet (12,190 m)
Range: 1275 nautical miles (2346 km); clean and two AIM-9
Combat radius: 390 nautical miles (449 km, 722 km); to ban mission
Ferry area: 1800 nautical miles (2070 km, 3330 km); Area without ammunition
Service height:> 50,000 feet (15,000 m)
Wing load: 92,8 £ / m² (453 kg / m²)
Thrust / Weight: 0.93

Weapons and containers
Air / air missile
Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder
Raytheon AIM-120-C5 AMRAAM
Air / ground guided weapons
Texas Instruments AGM-88A / B HARM
Directed bombs
GBU-12B / C / D Paveway II
Undirected bombs
B61 (tactical 10,500 kt nuclear bomb)
AN / ALQ-99 (EKF sturgeon container)
AN / ALQ-218 (EKF sturgeon container)
Raytheon AN / ASQ-228 ATFLIR target light box
Northrop Grumman AN / AAQ-28 (V) Generation IV Target Lighting Box
In addition, there are ejectable additional tanks (1800 or 1200 liters)

Squadrons EA-18G VAQ in Whidbey Island
VAQ-129 “Vikings” Training and Substitute Squad
VAQ-130 “Zappers” CVW-3 AC CVN-69
VAQ-131 “Lancers” CVW-8 AJ CVN-77
VAQ-132 “Scorpions”
VAQ-133 “Wizards” CVW-9 NG CVN-74
VAQ-134 “Garuda”
VAQ-135 “Black Ravens”
VAQ-136 “The Gauntlets” CVW-2 NE CVN-70
VAQ-137 “Rooks” CVW-1 AB CVN-75
VAQ-138 “Yellow Jackets”
VAQ-139 “Cougars” CVW-17 NA CVN-71
VAQ-140 “Patriots”
VAQ-141 “Shadowhawks”
VAQ-142 “Gray Wolves” CVW-11 NH CVN-68
VAQ-209 “Star Warriors” reserve season
VX-9 Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center
In addition, there are three Boeing EA-18G on the NAS Fallon NSAWC in use. The Boeing EA-18G Growler Squadrons are all based in Whidbey Island.


Peter Boschert

Peter is a photographer covering events in the United States and in Europe. He likes to cover Nellis AFB, NAS Fallon and RAF Lakenheath.

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