JED - January 2010 - (Page 15)

t he NAVY GROWLER COMPLETES THE HOME STRETCH Ashton Carter, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, approved full-rate production of the US Navy’s new EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft on November 23. The Boeing EA-18G, a derivative of the service’s two-seat, twin-engine F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter, is replacing the Navy’s carrierbased four-seat EA-6B Prowler support jamming aircraft. Electronic attack squadron VAQ-132 was the first operational unit to transition to the EA-18G. It achieved an initial operational capability with the Growler in September – only three years after the aircraft’s first flight – after successfully completing a three-month independent Operational Evaluation in May. The Navy plans to buy 88 Growlers to replace all of its EA-6Bs by 2013, enough to outfit each of its 10 carrier squadrons with five operational EA-18Gs and nine two-person aircrews. Boeing had delivered 16 of 34 low-rate initial production aircraft as of early December. Northrop Grumman supplies an enhanced version of the Prowler’s latest ICAP III jamming suite (which saw limited fielding) for the Growler. The heart of the ICAP III upgrade for the EA-18G is Northrop Grumman’s ALQ-218 wideband receiver, which can direct surgical jamming on specific frequencies and also can geo-locate enemy radars. The Growler also inherits the EA-6B’s existing ALQ-99 external jamming pods. The home base for the Navy’s EA-6B and EA-18G squadrons is the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA. The new Growler retains the inherent strike fighter capabilities of the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is faster and more maneuverable than the Prowler. CDR Jim Stoneman of the Super Hornet/Growler program office (PMA 265) at Naval Air Systems Command, NAS Patuxent River, MD, told the Electronic Warfare Infra- monitor news The Journal of Electronic Defense | January 2010 structure Conference in Atlanta, GA, on December 2 that the Growler has nine weapon stations. Its typical external load-out is one high-band jamming pod, one High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), one Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and one auxiliary fuel tank under each of its wings, along with a single low-band jamming pod under the fuselage. “That gives you a total [gross take-off weight] of about 60,000 pounds, which is still 6,000 pounds below the maximum weight for the Growler.” A key addition to ICAP III that came in 2006 was the Link 16 Multi-function Information Distribution System (MIDS) tactical data link radio. MIDS terminals automatically exchange situational awareness information with each other in real time and show the locations of enemy air defenses, friendly and enemy aircraft, ships and ground forces on a cockpit display. “The increased situational awareness with Link 16 [combined with the ALQ-218] is really going to change where and how we use our AEA platforms,” Stoneman said. “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen when the air wings get a hold of the Growler. Where are they going to employ it? Who’s it going to talk to? What are the tactics that are going to be developed? This is a chance, I think, for the members of the Navy’s AEA community to grow and become EW battle managers.” – G. Goodman NEXT-GENERATION JAMMER ADVANCING TO NEXT PHASE BAE Systems, ITT/Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon submitted bids by October 15 for the Technology Maturation phase of the US Navy’s NextGeneration Jammer (NGJ) development program. The Navy plans to award up to four 10- to 14-month contracts valued at $15-30 million each by March 31. The NGJ program’s aim is to provide a replacement beginning in 2018 for the aging ALQ-99 external jamming pods used by the Navy’s EA-6B Prowler and new EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft. A variant of the NGJ also is expected to be carried on the Joint Strike Fighter currently in development and potentially on unmanned aerial vehicles. The four competitor teams previously each completed six-month NGJ trade

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - January 2010

JED - January 2010
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Asia-Pacifi c EW: All Eyes on China?
Maneuver in the EM Domain
Technology Survey: Surface Naval Expendables and Launchers
EW 101
AOC Industry/Institute/University Members
Index of Advertisers
JED Sales Offices

JED - January 2010