Australia’s EA-18G Electronic Attack Capability Achieves IOC

02 Mei 2019

The RAAF received 12 Growler aircraft, but lost one after a catastrophic engine failure during exercises in the US in January 2018 (photo : CAN)

Initial operating capability (IOC) has been achieved by the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) 11-strong fleet of Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft, the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, announced on 30 April.

Attaining IOC confirms the RAAF 6 Squadron's ability to conduct limited force-level airborne electronic warfare (EW) for peacetime national tasking or limited low-level conflicts in the region. In this context, force-level EW involves moving well beyond simple self-protection of the host platform to the attack or defence of major assets or formations.

An interim benchmark scheduled for mid-2021 envisages the EA-18G's capability developed so it can be taken into more contested conflicts and conduct operations at higher sortie rates in a single location, Group Captain Tim Churchill, Director of the Growler Transition Office, told Jane's . Final Operational Capability (FOC), anticipated in mid-2022, will confirm the ability to undertake the same high operational tempo simultaneously in two locations.

The first two of 12 EA-18Gs landed at RAAF Amberley in Queensland in February 2017 and the final two arrived five months later. However, one aircraft was destroyed after a catastrophic engine failure while on exercises in the US in January 2018.

Australia is the only country outside the US to operate the Growler. Along with the US Navy (USN) Growler force, the RAAF's EA-18Gs utilises the AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming system. Uniquely, Australian EA-18Gs also deploy the ASQ-228 ATFLIR electro-optical targeting pod, a requirement understood to have emerged from USN experience with Growler operations over Libya in 2011.

The initial test firings by an RAAF Growler of an AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and its successor, the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), took place in the US in mid-2017.


Subscribe to receive free email updates: