Battlespace Tech

In a Navy first, tablets integrate with mission systems aboard Growlers

Navy EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft

The Navy’s electronic attack aircraft—the EA-18G Growler, a variant of the F/A 18 Super Hornet—has demonstrated new high-speed, long-range targeting technologies, integrating data from multiple Growlers with an E-2 Hawkeye aircraft, the Growler’s manufacturer announced.

The carrier-based Boeing Growler, which provides an advanced airborne electronic attack platform, electronic warfare capabilities and can relay intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to other aircraft, detected targets over long distances and shared the data faster than ever in the recent demonstration, Boeing said. The exercise featured the use of an advanced targeting processor, an open architecture, high-bandwidth data link and, in a first for the Navy, a Windows-based tablet was integrated with the mission system. 

The various advanced electronic capabilities the Growler, which was first delivered in 2008, include electronic attack systems weapons with tactical versatility, suppression of enemy air defenses, stand-off and escort jamming, non-traditional electronic attack and self-protect, and time-critical strike support, among other features.

“This enhanced targeting capability provides our aircrews with a significant advantage, especially in an increasingly dense threat environment where longer-range targeting is critical to the fight,” said Capt. David Kindley, the Navy’s F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager.

Boeing said that the integration of the tablet device with the aircraft mission system was a first for the Navy, allowing for easier access and communication with crews in other aircraft.

“The complexity of global threat environments continues to evolve,” said Dan Gillian, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G programs vice president. “This long-range targeting technology is essential as we advance electronic attack capabilities for the conflicts of today and tomorrow.”

Boeing also said that existing Growlers will be retrofitted with these technology upgrades. The Navy in October gave Boeing an $897.5 million contract for 15 more of the aircraft.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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