Boeing delivered the 100th EA-18G Growler to the U.S. Navy, marking a major milestone in the program that has transformed airborne electronic warfare capability for the U.S. and its allies.
A derivative of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, the Growler is the only aircraft in production that provides tactical jamming and electronic protection for U.S. and allied forces. Growlers provide a unique capability to nearly all U.S. combat missions and are expected to be in service until at least 2040, says a Boeing news release.
“Given the threat environment we are moving into, the Growler will play a major role in identifying, tracking, targeting and potentially firing upon the enemy,” said Capt. Frank Morley, U.S. Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager, during the delivery ceremony today in St. Louis. “The EA-18G Growler is a high-demand asset that is equally critical in disrupting our enemies operations as it is enhancing our own.”
The U.S. Navy has 22 Growlers on its unfunded priorities list for the 2015 fiscal year budget. Current orders take Growler and Super Hornet production through the end of 2016.
“Today we celebrated 100 Growler deliveries — all on cost and on schedule — and highlighted the need for additional Growlers in the future, so our men and women in uniform can prosecute their missions in the safest, most effective way possible,” said Mike Gibbons, F/A-18 and EA-18G Programs vice president. “We believe there is a compelling case to be made that the Navy needs 50 to 100 more aircraft to meet future requirements.”
During testimony on March 27 to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, described the Growler as an “extraordinary capability” and emphasized the need for more aircraft, the Boeing release noted.