Boeing Presents New EA-18G Growler Warbird – Airplanes
Boeing presented the first EA-18G Growler, the airborne electronic attack aircraft designed to replace the EA-6B Prowler. The EA-6B Prowler began service in 1971, and the U.S. military has used it extensively to jam hostile radar and communications systems. The EA-18G Growler has several advantages over the older EA-6B Prowler, not the least of which is its mission flexibility. The EA-18G can be launched from ground-based runways and aircraft carriers alike. The airplane is an offshoot of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, a two-seat war fighter. The EA-18G Growler has inherited the F/A-18F Super Hornet’s advanced communications system, weapons, and sensors. A Navy representative present at the presentation ceremony remarked that he believed the need for electronic warfare would only increase over time. The United States military is hoping that the EA-18G Growler will fulfill that need.
Flight tests for the EA-18G Growler will begin in July of 2006 at the US Navy’s testing grounds located at China Lake, California and Patuxent River, Maryland. Representatives of Boeing and the Navy expect the flight tests of the EA-18G Growler to last through 2008. The EA-18G Growler should be operational sometime in 2009 when it will then become part of the Navy’s aircraft fleet. Though Boeing is leading the Growler’s development and is in charge of integrating the weapon system, Northrop Grumman is responsible for integrating the airborne electronic attack subsystem. Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Electric will each contribute to the aircraft’s production using their own manufacturing plants.