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F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fleets grounded: following an on-deck emergency experienced at NAS Whidbey Island by an EA-18G the U.S. Navy has temporarily suspended flight operations for the Super Hornet and Growler.
As reported by the service press release in fact a U. S. Navy E/A-18G jet assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 Scorpions experienced an on-deck emergency at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island at approximately 1100 (PST), on Dec. 16, 2016.
The aircraft was damaged and both aircrew sustained injuries and were transported by a NAS Whidbey Island SAR helicopter to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation. The cause of the emergency is under investigation.
Naval Air Forces has temporarily suspended flight operations for all F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers as a safety precaution since they share common aircraft systems, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis dependent upon operational requirements. The operational pause will allow both Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Boeing engineers time to investigate the incident.
The F/A-18E and F/A-18F are designed to meet current Navy fighter escort and interdiction mission requirements, to maintain F/A-18 fleet air defense and close air support roles, as well as an increasing range of missions, including Forward Air Controller (Airborne) and Aerial Tanking, as they have proven capability to replace the S-3 as an aerial tanker. F/A-18E/F enhancements include increased range and improved carrier suitability required for the F/A-18 to continue its key strike fighter role against the advanced threats of the 21st century.
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. Built to replace the EA-6B Prowler, the Growler is the first newly-designed electronic warfare aircraft produced in more than 35 years. The aircraft also retains all of the F/A-18E/F’s multi-mission capabilities with its validated design and the capability to perform a wide range of enemy defense suppression missions.
Source: U.S. Navy; Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr. and Seaman Weston A. Mohr / U.S. Navy
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