NEWS.com.au |
Fox Sports |
Newspapers |
CareerOne |
carsguide |
TrueLocal |
Real Estate |
MySpace AU
previous pause next Network Highlights:

Half of Super Hornets shipment to be made electronic warfare ready

February 27, 2009

Article from:  Australian Associated Press

TWELVE of 24 Boeing Super Hornets on order for the RAAF are to be rewired to give them an advanced electronic warfare capability.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced the Government would spend $35 million for the aircraft to be modified as they move down the Boeing production line in the US.

That's a far cheaper option than seeking to modify the aircraft once in service.

What the RAAF will get are F/A-18F Super Hornets able to be upgraded to full EA-18G Growler configuration, comparable to the Growlers now entering service with the US Navy.

"If finally pursued, the relatively small investment will significantly enhance the Super Hornets capability, by giving electronic attack capacity and therefore the ability to nullify the systems of opposing aircraft," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"It will also provide the Super Hornets with counter-terrorism capability through the ability to shut down the ground-based communications and bomb triggering devices of terrorists."

Once modified, the RAAF aircraft could be upgraded to full Growler capability through acquisition of electronic warfare pods.

Mr Fitzgibbon said that would cost an additional $300 million with a decision likely to be made in the upcoming Defence white paper, set for release in March or April.

This would give Australia an extremely advanced airborne electronic attack capability, far in excess of any regional power.

Much of the information about electronic attack remains highly classified.

Some reports suggest it would allow a hostile aircraft or ground radar to be jammed or even spoofed through inserting false data. Hostile missiles could be distracted away from their real targets or even made to attack their own side.

Under plans launched by the former coalition government, the RAAF's ageing F-111 bombers will be retired in 2010.

The RAAF's current fleet of F/A-18 Hornets will remain in service but will be gradually replaced by the new Lockheed F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) from 2015.

To ensure there was no capability gap between retirement of the F-111s and the arrival of the JSF, the former government ordered the 24 Super Hornets at a cost of $6 billion.

The first Australian Super Hornets will be delivered next year.

The Growler is similar to the conventional Super Hornet. Other than the extra internal wiring, the key difference is that it has no gun, with the space taken by dedicated electronic attack components.

For the RAAF, the gun would apparently remain, but with wiring to allow later installation of the electronics.

A yet to be resolved issue is whether the US would agree to sell Australia some of its most advanced electronic equipment.

A Defence source said the fact that the US had agreed to the installation of the wiring left them confident other equipment could be supplied.

Story Tools

Share This Article

From here you can use the Social Web links to save Half of Super Hornets shipment to be made electronic warfare ready to a social bookmarking site.

Email To A Friend

* Required fields

Information provided on this page will not be used for any other purpose than to notify the recipient of the article you have chosen.

Win luxury excapes

Mini Poll

The Australian's Online Poll

Should the Government place a cap on executive salaries?

In-Depth sections

In-Depth sections

The Australian's in-depth sections cover a range of news topics, including the Queensland elections, the Victorian bushfires, the global financial crisis and our Investor Jury.

In The Australian Today

Worst February for Wall St since 1933

A 39 per cent fall in Citigroup has pushed the Dow index to a new bear-market low and its worst February since 1933.

Videoconferencing to slash govt airfare bill

THE federal Government will deploy Cisco video conferencing systems across 20 government sites in a bid to slash its $280 million domest...

Foxtel suspends payout

THE financial crisis has prompted pay-TV group Foxtel to suspend its distribution payout policy.

Overseas students rise to record high

ENROLMENTS by overseas students in Australia rose a record 20.7 per cent to 543,898 in 2008 - the largest increase since 2002.

Also in The Australian

Soldiers unearth second mass grave

5:00pm BANGLADESHI soldiers searching for dozens of officers still missing after a revolt by border guards uncovered a second mass grave.

Western Australia braces for cyclone

5:00pm A TROPICAL low off the West Australian coast is expected to develop into a cyclone.

Unhappy marriage with Pakistan

THE Rudd Government is now reprising the failed policies of the Howard government towards Pakistan.

Single life

FOR the benefit of those not in the know, "pulling" is British lingo for going out and finding someone to go home with, usually aided by...