Tag Archives: Boeing EA-18G Growler

[Photo] U.S. Marines EA-6B Prowlers refuel during mission over Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps EA-6Bs are taking part in missions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some of the 27 remaining U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jets are currently deployed to conducts electronic air defense over Afghanistan.

Close up cockpit AAR EA-6B

The EA-6Bs belong to the VMAQ-4, that deployed to Al Udeid, in Qatar, in August 2014.

Since they arrived in Qatar, the Prowlers have launched missions to Syria and Iraq, as well as Afghanistan.

EA-6B refuel boomer view

In spite of their age, the aircraft are still valuable platforms capable to support any contingencies or operations which may need kinetic electronic attack:  they can spot and identify enemy signals, jam radar emissions and radio communications as well as gather intelligence and pin-point enemy forces on the ground.

EA-6B refuel boom view

Still, the Prowler will probably be the last EW (Electronic Warfare) dedicated aircraft in USMC inventory: the Marines plan to retire the Prowler and replace it with the radar-evading F-35B which will be able to perform some EW roles by means of its AESA (Active Electronic Scanner Array) radar, used as a directional jammer.

Prowler over Afghanistan

In the meanwhile, the images in this post show some the Marine Corps Prowlers being refueled by a U.S. Air Force KC-135 on their way to one of the daily missions over Afghanistan.

EA-6B flares

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Awesome footage shows EA-18G Growler low altitude training

Shot by aircrews of the VAQ-132 Scorpions of the U.S. Navy between 2011 and 2012, the following awesome video brings you along the Military Training Routes in Washington State, where EA-18G Growlers train for terrain masking.

Flying at 420 and 540 knots and at 500 feet, pilots train low altitude ingress and egress to a target defended by enemy radars and surface to air missile batteries.

H/T to Bill Garcia for the heads-up

VAQ-132 Growler

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Photo: U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler caught under massive snow storm

I wonder which were the weather conditions (and, in particular, the visibility) when the EA-18G depicted in the following image landed from a flight during massive snow storm at Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan.

The Growler belongs to the  Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 that is finishing up a six-month deployment in support of U.S. 7th Fleet.


Image credit: U.S. Navy

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Australia to gain "Growler" capability with 12 EA-18G jets capable to perform Electronic Attack, SEAD missions

Australian minister for Defence Stephen Smith and minister for Defence Material Jason Clare have announced that the Australian Government has decided to acquire the “Growler” electronic warfare system for Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornet fleet of 24 jets.

The Growler system allows the Super Hornet to jam the electronic systems of aircraft and land based radar and communications.

The deal worth some 1.5 billion USD will mark out Australia as the only country outside of the U.S. to operate the EA-18G Growler system.

Of the 24 jets that Australia has procured, 12 are already wired for the Growler system: in May 2009, the Government announced its decision to wire half of its “Rhinos” (actually, this is the Super Hornet nickname within the U.S. Navy fighter pilot community) for potential conversion to the Growler configuration.

The Growlers will be operational from 2018, the purchase of the equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process.

Although Lockheed Martin officials have criticized the choice (since the F-35, that Australia is committed to buying in up to 100 examples, will have some advanced electronic warfare capabilities), with a fleet of 12 EA-18Gs the RAAF has opted for a small but extremely effective force capable to perform of Electronic Warfare/Electronic Attack as well as SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) missions, few other non-US nations can rely on.

David Cenciotti has contributed to this post.

Image credit: Russel Hill

Vipers, Growlers, Prowlers, Eagles and Hogs: U.S. combat planes at Aviano airbase during Libya air war. With heart background.

Although the U.S. involvement in Libya was scaled down few days after NATO took control over the air campaign on Mar. 31, 2011, American tactical aircraft (“tacair”) played an important role during the opening stages of the Washington-led Operation Odyssey Dawn (for more details I suggest you reading the first debriefs of my Libya Air War series).

Even if U.S. planes also operated from other deployment base (RAF Mildenhall, Moron, Souda Bay, Istres), Aviano airbase, in northeast Italy, and Sigonella, in Sicily, were the two main hubs used by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps assets. In particular, Aviano was mainly used by the tacair component, while “Saigon” was used by support planes (PSYOPS, tankers, etc.) and drones (both Reapers and Global Hawks).

Among the aircraft on temporary deployment to Aviano (that is the permanent base of the 31st FW’s F-16s) there were: VAQ-132 EA-18G Growlers, VAQ-140 and VMAQ-1 EA-6B Prowlers, 494FS F-15E, 81FS A-10s and 480FS F-16CJs. A Jordanian Air Force detachment operated from Aviano throughout the duration of Operation Unified Protector.

The following pictures, taken by Simone Gazzola, show some of the most interesting aircraft taking off or landing at Aviano.

Note also the “heart” shape on the background of some pictures. It’s a land-art project called Lumacuore (an Italian word formed by combining the words lumaca= snail and cuore = heart) and made between 2009 and 2010 on the side of Piancavallo mountain by the Italian artist Laura Trevisan with the aim of “spreading a cultural message on human rights, love and respect for nature as well as the environmentally friendly development of the territory.”