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Australia plans to upgrade its F/A-18E/F fleet into EA-18G Growler

EA-18G Growler at Rollout Ceremony (Defense Industry Daily) The Australian government is moving...

EA-18G Growler at Rollout Ceremony (Defense Industry Daily)


The Australian government is moving forward with plans to upgrade its F/A-18E/F fleet with Growler electronic-attack equipment.

The military already has taken 12 of its 24 aircraft wired for the electronic-attack system and now is laying the groundwork to equip them for the EA-18G role, although the final decision to do so will not come until later this year, says Defense Minister Stephen Smith.

At this point,
Australia is committing to A$19 million ($19.7 million) in long-lead items, a move necessary to keep the Northrop Grumman production line open with the U.S. program slowly coming to an end. The initial commitment is for six kits, with options for six more.

As to the long-term procurement, which would come in the form of a foreign military sales contract, Smith notes “we are in the process of doing that exhaustive assessment, both in terms of the capability, the cost and how it matches other competing priorities and those judgments and decisions will be made in the course of this year.”

EA-18G Growler Systems (Defense Industry Daily)


Australian officials say their interest in the capability was underscored by the U.S. Navy experience with the EA-18G in Libya. “It lowers risk for everybody in the battle space and I’m continuing to move forward with the capability and hope that we can actually fit it within the budget space,” says Royal Australian Air Force Chief Geoff Brown.

The deal would mark the first export of the EA-18G but also more generally of that type of capability. The U.S. never authorized the release of the EA-6B Prowler.

Meanwhile, Smith has faced pressure from the opposition to move forward on buying Global Hawk unmanned aircraft for maritime surveillance, but says he wants to continue to hold off. “The United States is developing a Global Hawk for maritime surveillance but it is currently not yet in existence. So I don’t know that it’s a sensible thing to do to immediately purchase something which has not yet been developed,” he tells reporters.




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