Australia selects Growler EW for Super Hornet
The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced that it has selected the Growler electronic warfare (EW) system for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) Super Hornet, making Australia the only country in the world other than the US to operate the Growler aircraft.
The selection, with an estimated cost of $1.5 billion, was announced 23 August 2012.
Australia has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets. The Growler is a specialised version of the Super Hornet and is also currently in service with the US Navy, by which it was used ‘very effectively’ during air operations in Libya in 2011.
The Australian MoD has been gearing up to enhance its air superiority capabilities for some time. In 2009 the government announced it would wire 12 of 24 Super Hornets for potential conversion to the Growler configuration at a cost of $35 million. This was followed by the announcement in March 2012 that the government would purchase long lead item electronic equipment for the Growler at a cost of $20 million.
The May 2012 budget included a capacity to acquire Growler, and it was included in the Public Defence Capability Plan released in July this year. The purchase is being made under a foreign military sale with the US, and the aircraft are expected to enter service from 2018.
Growler is an EW system that will give the Super Hornet the ability to jam the electronics systems of aircraft and land-based radars and communications systems, and can also undertake ISR missions.
As an inherent part of modern combat, electronic threats are a key consideration for armed forces. Growler will provide options for the RAAF to undertake electronic threat suppression operations in support of Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations.
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