Saturday, July 8, 2017

RAAF receive full EA-18G Growler Electronic Warfare aircraft fleet

© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Boeing has delivered the full fleet of 12 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft to Royal Australian Air Force.

The last two Growlers arrived at the RAAF Base Amberley on Saturday, completing the deliver which commenced in Feb 2017.

The EA-18G Growler provide tactical escort/standoff jamming and electronic protection using onboard Radio Frequency Jammers that render enemy radar and radio systems ineffective.

They disrupt, deceive or deny a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communications improving survivability and mission success.

Growler is based on the twin seat F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet airframe, fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite and radio-frequency jamming pods.

The EA-18 uses virtually the same EW suite developed by Northrop Grumman for the Improved Capability III (ICAP III) upgrade of EA-6B Prowler EW aircraft which the Growler is replacing, with the addition of an advanced digital receiver group performing the auxiliary receiver functions..

The ALQ-218 receiver electronics of EA-6B has been repackaged and is installed in the EA-18’s nose gun-bay, with the antennas mounted on wingtip pods. It can precisely identify and pinpoint the location of enemy radar sites for a more effective use of HARM anti-radiation missiles.

The under fuselage and under wing mounted ALQ-99 low and high band jamming pods provide full spectrum jamming capability. The aged system which was designed in 1969 have poor reliability and is prone to frequent failures. Raytheon has been awarded a contract by US Navy to develop the replacement Next Gen Jammer (NGJ), which will be introduced from 2021.

The Interference Cancellation System (INCANS) is essential for Growler to enable communication while the powerful electronic attack jammer is active.

© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

The ALQ-227 Communications Countermeasures Set provides the ability to locate, record, play back and digitally jam enemy communications over a broad frequency range.

The Growler is equipped with Raytheon APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar which have enhanced radar image resolution, targeting and tracking range.

In additon to Jammers, the nine hard points, six under wing and three under fuselage can carry fuel tanks, AIM-120C air to air missiles for self protection and HARM missiles for offensive missions.

Slated for initial operation clearance (IOC) in 2018, the RAAF Growler fleet will complement the 24 RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet and the future fleet of 72 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter jets.