U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 28, 2022. The Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134 traveled from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington to enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and further increase air integration capabilities with Allied and partner nations. The six aircraft are from VAQ 134, an electronic attack squadron also known as the “Garudas.” The EA-18G Growler is a variant of the F/A-18 aircraft and combines the “Super Hornet” platform with an electronic warfare suite. About 240 Navy personnel, including maintainers and pilots, will accompany the aircraft to Germany. Those aircraft are expected to fly missions in support of eastern flank deterrence and defense.
“This is in order to bolster readiness, enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and further increase air integration capabilities with our allied and partner nations. These Growlers … are equipped for a variety of missions. But they do specialize in flying electronic warfare missions, using a suite of jamming sensors to confuse enemy radars, greatly aiding in the ability to conduct suppression of enemy air defense operations. They are not being deployed to be used against Russian forces in Ukraine. They are being deployed completely in keeping with our efforts to bolster NATO’s deterrence and defense capabilities along that eastern flank.,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.
Navy Capt. Christopher M. Bahner, who serves as commander of Electronic Attack Wing Pacific said,”The team from VAQ-134 is prepared to carry out whatever mission is asked of them while in Germany. I am extremely proud of the men and women in VAQ-134. The Garudas have performed exceptionally well during their planned work-up cycle and stand ready to support U.S. expeditionary and allied task forces in Europe. Expeditionary EA-18G squadrons integrate with joint and coalition forces to provide our commanders capabilities to defend our forces in all potential phases of operation, while allowing our Carrier Air Wing EA-18G squadrons to remain at sea, defending freedom of navigation with our carrier strike group teams.”
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, 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 Growler integrates the latest electronic attack technology, including the ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, ALQ-227 Communication Countermeasures Set and Joint Tactical Terminal — Receiver satellite communications. The EA-18G began production in 2007 and entered operational service with the US Navy in late 2009. Australia has also purchased twelve EA-18Gs, which entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 2017.