EA-18G Growlers operated by U.S. Navy electronic attack squadron VAQ-132 safely returned to their home base at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., on July 9, after completing an eight-month deployment that included combat operations in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibility.
During the deployment, VAQ-132’s personnel and aircraft supported CENTCOM operations in Iraq before quickly transitioning to AFRICOM to conduct operations supporting NATO in Libya.
Additional EA-18Gs are deployed with electronic attack squadron VAQ-141 aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN77) aircraft carrier, marking the aircraft’s first sea-based deployment. VAQ-141 is expected to conduct support missions as part of Carrier Air Wing Eight in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf regions.
A third electronic attack squadron, VAQ-138, recently deployed to a land-based location.
“It’s a very exciting accomplishment for the Navy and for our nation to have the Growler in the fleet — on time, on cost, and with the performance that was expected. What we’re hearing from the fleet is that the young lieutenants and lieutenant commanders who are flying the aircraft are, just as we thought, taking advantage of the capabilities of the Block 2 Super Hornet to make the jet more effective,” said Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager (PMA-265). “We’re looking forward to more feedback from the fleet in order to continue developing exciting capabilities for the aircraft.”
“Boeing is honored to support the Navy and the service members operating and maintaining the new EA-18G Growler,” said Kory Mathews, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president. “As we join the Navy in celebrating its first 100 years of aviation success, the service continues to achieve milestones that will stand out for decades to come.”
The EA-18G is the only air combat platform that delivers full-spectrum airborne electronic attack (AEA) capability along with the targeting and self-defense capabilities derived from the Navy’s frontline fighter, the F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet. A derivative of the two-seat F/A-18F Block II, the EA-18G’s highly flexible design enables warfighters to operate either from the deck of an aircraft carrier or from land-based airfields. It is replacing the Navy’s current AEA platform, the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. The EA-18G joined the Navy’s aircraft fleet in 2008, when it was introduced to fleet training squadron VAQ-129.
Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the EA-18G Growler industry team, which also includes Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Electric Aircraft Engines.