RAAF buying another EA-18G to replace A46-311 lost in an accident at Nellis in 2018

RAAF buying another EA-18G to replace A46-311 lost in an accident at Nellis in 2018

By Dario Leone
Oct 1 2021
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This EA-18G Growler would replace Australia’s EA-18G A46-311 aircraft lost in an accident at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) on Jan. 27, 2018.

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of EA-18G Growler Aircraft, Related Defense Services, and related equipment for an estimated cost of $125 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.

The Government of Australia has requested to buy a United States Navy (USN) EA-18G aircraft. The USN EA-18G aircraft will then be modified into a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18G aircraft configuration and will come from production Lot 38 or later.

This proposed sale will allow Australia to effectively maintain its current force projection capability that enhances interoperability with U.S. forces well into the future and maintain their original primary level of aircraft authorized. This aircraft would replace Australia’s EA-18G A46-311 aircraft lost in an accident at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) on Jan. 27, 2018 during Exercise Red Flag 18-1.

On that day, the aircraft, assigned to 6 Squadron, experienced an uncontained F414 engine failure during the latter stages of its take-off roll at Nellis. At ~140 knots indicated air speed (KIAS), the ballistic material failure of the right hand engine caused the almost simultaneous failure of the left hand engine, a cascading set of malfunctions and emergencies and a fierce fuel / airframe fire.

RAAF buying another EA-18G to replace A46-311 lost in an accident at Nellis in 2018

The hulk was then placed in storage at 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.

RAAF EA-18G Growlers are operated by No. 6 Squadron based at RAAF Base Amberley and operate in conjunction with Australian air, land and sea forces.

Growlers can support a wide range of Defence tasks, from peacetime evacuations to major conflicts.

The Growler is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet airframe, and is fitted with:

  • additional avionics
  • enhanced radio frequency receivers
  • an improved communications suite, and ALQ radio-frequency jamming pods which enable it to jam enemy systems.

RAAF purchase of the EA-18G Growler includes the aircraft, required mission and support systems, training, and ongoing support to effectively develop and operate a Growler capability.

It will provide a complementary capability to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Photos: RAAF EA-18G A46-311 accident at Nellis AFB on Jan. 27, 2018.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force / Royal Australian Air Force

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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