Battlespace Tech

Navy awards $879M contract to expand its EW fleet

Navy EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft

A Growler lands on a Navy carrier.

The Navy has awarded Boeing an $897.5 million contract modification for 15 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft and the electronic attack kits that go with them.

The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Md., placed the order for the Lot 38 full-rate production aircraft, with delivery expected by January 2018, according to a Defense Department contract announcement.

The Growler is a variation of the F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighter adapted specifically for electronic warfare. It’s designed to suppress enemy air defenses through reactive and pre-emptive jamming, and jamming in both a stand-off an escort role, according to the Navy.

It also can engage in non-traditional electronic attack by integrating with ground operations, use its Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, digital data links and air-to-air missiles for self-protection and identifying and attacking targets, such as enemy radar installations.

Acquisition and deployment of Growlers is overseen by the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office, which also handles the F/A-18 C/D Hornet, and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, working both the the Navy and sever international partners, including Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.

The carrier-based Growler is replacing the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler as an electronic warfare aircraft. The Navy also has contracted with Raytheon for development of the Next Generation Jammer, which is expected to greatly increase the Growler’s EW capabilities.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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