article cover
Article

The acquisition of EA-18G Growler technology for the Super Hornet will provide the ADF with the biggest strategic advantage since the introduction of the F-111. Twelve of Air Force's 24 Super Hornets will be fitted with the Growler electronic warfare system, costing about $1.5 billion.

The acquisition of EA-18G Growler technology for the Super Hornet will provide the ADF with the biggest strategic advantage since the introduction of the F-111, according to Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown.

Twelve of Air Force's 24 Super Hornets will be fitted with the Growler electronic warfare system at a cost of about $1.5 billion, which will include funding to acquire the Growler conversion kits, supporting equipment and systems, spares and training and initial training systems.

"The Growler will significantly improve Air Force's ability to operate in a complex and increasingly hostile battlespace," Air Marshal Brown says.

"It will also considerably decrease the risk to land, sea and air operations. The Growler will save lives, there's no doubt about it."

Defence Minister Stephen Smith made the acquisition announcement at Defence Establishment Fairbairn in Canberra on August 23.

The Chief of Air Force, Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, United States Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, Boeing representatives and members of 82 Wing attended the event.

Two Super Hornets were flown from RAAF Base Amberley for the event.

Mr Smith says it was a very important capability announcement for Air Force, the ADF and Australia.

"As a result of very good planning over a number of years, we will acquire the technology and become the only country other than the United States to have the Growler electronic warfare attack capability," Mr Smith says.

"It will be purchased under United States Foreign Military Sales office arrangements, and we are expecting that the initial operating capability will occur in 2018."

The Growler system gives the Super Hornet the ability to jam the electronics systems of aircraft and land-based radars and communications systems.

It will provide options for the Air Force to undertake electronic threat suppression operations in support of ADF operations, including land and sea forces, and will also provide the capability to undertake intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Air Marshal Brown says the Growler will be critical to future operations.

"Its flexibility to operate right across the spectrum and range of ADF operations will make a tremendous difference," he says.

"It certainly is a unique capability to deny and disrupt an adversary's use of their electronic spectrum.

"The ability to shut down surface-to-air missile systems and shut down any other electronic transmissions across the battlespace really decreases the risk, whether you are flying a C-17, a Super Hornet or an F-35.

"It will be a magnificent addition to the whole of the ADF's capability."

The Commanding Officer of 6 Squadron, Wing Commander Terence Deeth, says the squadron has been identified as the possible G model squadron of the future.

"It's a different role all together for the Super Hornet; the Growler will turn it from a multi-role fighter into an electronic attack aircraft," Wing Commander Deeth says.

"So, it's a really different thing for Air Combat Group to get involved with.

"I think it will be interesting times in the decade ahead as we work towards the Growler capability, which will be a positive capability within the ADF."