The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received into service its full complement of 12 Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft ordered from the United States.
The final aircraft arrived at RAAF Amberley in Queensland on 5 July, some four months after the first aircraft were showcased in late February at the Avalon Airshow 2017.
With all the Growlers now delivered, the RAAF will formally stand-up the type in 2018, with full operating capability following in 2022. These platforms will later be supplemented by five modified Gulfstream G550s that will provide a long-range EA support capability.
The RAAF's Growler programme dates to May 2013, at which time the government announced the AUD1.5-billion (USD1.14 billion) procurement effort. The contract was placed the following year, with the first flight of an Australian Growler taking place in July 2015. RAAF crews have been training alongside US Navy (USN) personnel at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state since 2013.
Australia and the United States will jointly develop and improve the platform within the framework of a research, testing, development, and evaluation initiative that spans to 2035. This is likely to include the development of Raytheon's Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), currently under development to replace the USN's current AN/ALQ-99 system.
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