The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is awarded a $9,425,756 firm-fixed-price modification to an order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This modification procures 12 satellite communication retrofit kits for the government of Australia EA-18G aircraft. The Growler’s flight performance is similar to that of the F/A-18E/F. Australia has also purchased twelve EA-18Gs, which entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 2017. Work is expected to be completed in April 2025. Fiscal 2021 aircraft procurement Foreign Military Sales funds for $1,135,946 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G replaced the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler’s electronic warfare capability is primarily provided by Northrop Grumman. The EA-18G began production in 2007 and entered operational service with the US Navy in late 2009. This attribute enables the Growler to perform escort jamming as well as the traditional standoff jamming mission. Growlers can accompany F/A-18s during all phases of an attack mission. To give the Growler more stable flight for the electronic warfare mission, Boeing changed the leading edge fairings and wing fold hinge fairings, and added wing fences and aileron “tripper strips.
The Growler has more than 90% in common with the standard Super Hornet, sharing airframe, Raytheon AN/APG-79 AESA radar, and weapon systems such as the AN/AYK-22 stores management system. Most of the dedicated airborne electronic attack equipment is mounted on a plate in the space that is used to house the internal 20 mm cannon and on the wingtips. Nine weapons stations remain free to provide for additional weapons or jamming pods. The added electronics include AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers on the wingtips and ALQ-99 high and low-band tactical jamming pods. The ALQ-218 combined with the ALQ-99 form a full spectrum electronic warfare suite that can provide detection and jamming against all known surface-to-air threats.
In 2008, the Australian Government requested export approval from the US government to purchase up to six EA-18Gs, which would be part of the order for 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets. On 27 February 2009, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced that 12 of the 24 Super Hornets on order would be wired on the production line for future fit-out as EA-18Gs. The additional wiring would cost A$35 million. On 23 August 2012, the Australian Government announced that 12 RAAF Super Hornets would be fitted with Growler capability for $1.5 billion, making the Royal Australian Air Force the only military other than the U.S. to operate the Growler’s electronic jamming equipment.