RAAF EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft will be upgraded to the most current US capabilities.
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft will be upgraded to the most current US capabilities by Australian Defence Force’s standout radar-systems developer CEA Technologies as part of the $6 billion Project AIR 5349 Phase 6 project.
As reported by The Mandarin, the selection of CEA Technologies to upgrade the jammer of the RAAF EA-18Gs squares away the well-anticipated capability boost and reaffirms a broader focus on keeping Australia’s air power as sharp as possible as part of a wider quick readiness posture that allows cooperation with other air forces, particularly the US Air Force (USAF).
Currently approved funding for AIR 5349 Phase 6 sits at around $2 billion, with CEA’s cut coming in at $277 million.
Pat Conroy, the Australian Minister for defence industry, said the Albanese government was working closely with defence industry partners and that “Australian companies will be involved as much as possible throughout the life of this project.”
“We are delivering leading-edge technology the RAAF needs to face an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment.”
The list of upgrades coming to Australia’s Growlers includes the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) to replace the AN/ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System; sensor upgrades; anti-radiation missile war stock; and new longer-range and more advanced anti-radiation missiles.
Upgrades to the electronic warfare training ranges and facility upgrades at Queensland’s Amberley base and the Delamere Air Training Area near Katherine in the Northern Territory are also part of the deal.
The EA-18G Growler is a variant in the F/A-18 family of aircraft that combines the proven F/A-18F Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite. It is capable of disrupting, deceiving or denying a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communications.
Growlers can support a wide range of defence tasks and help to reduce risk and improve situational awareness. It provides a complementary capability to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
11 Growlers are controlled by No. 6 Squadron based at RAAF Base Amberley and operate alongside air, land and sea forces. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was declared in April 2019.
The EA-18G Growler integrates the latest electronic attack technology, including the ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, ALQ-227 Communication Countermeasures Set, and Joint Tactical Terminal – Receiver (JTT-R) satellite communications. The AN/ALQ-249, the Next Generation Jamming Pod, is in final development and will be the successor for the long serving ALQ-99 pods.
U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis