Flight Lieutenant Todd ‘Woody’ Woodford, an Australian officer assigned to VAQ-135, launches an AGM-88 HARM All-Up-Round from a Growler.
The above selfie was taken by a Royal Australian Air Force pilot, FLTLT Todd Woodford, assigned to VAQ-135, a U.S. Navy Squadron that operates the EA-18G Growler, during a live fire exercise off the coast of Pt. Mugu, CA.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an Electronic Warfare/Attack variant of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet that replaced the EA-6B Prowlers in U.S. Navy service.
Along with actively jamming enemy communications, the Growler, operating in a networked environment along with other two aircraft of the same type can use its EW pods to geo-locate a signal source and target it from stand-off distance with air-to-surface missiles.
According to the Tailhook Association, Woody, leading a division of three EA-18G aircraft during the live-fire portion of the US Navy’s graduate electronic warfare tactics course, HAVOC, became the first Aussie pilot to launch a HARM missile.
The RAAF officer is one of six Australian aircrew serving in US Navy expeditionary EA-18G squadrons as part of a bilateral Personnel Exchange Program, and is the first international partner to complete the HAVOC course. Woody will rejoin the VAQ-135 Black Ravens following HAVOC for his second deployment to the U.S. Pacific Command area in the EA-18G this fall.
In 2013, Australia committed to purchasing 12 EA-18G, 30+ ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming Pods, associated AEA equipment, and AGM-88 HARM and AARGM weapons. The integration of RAAF aircrew into US Navy operational squadrons has been on-going since the fall of 2014. Integrating, training and developing deployed experience in the EA-18G is a critical component to the Australia-US strategy for partnership in Airborne Electronic Attack.
Australia will take delivery of their first EA-18G at NAS Whidbey Island, WA in January 2017.
Photo credit: FLTLT Tood Woodford, VAQ-135. A big thank you to the Tailhook Association for allowing us to post this fantastic shot along with the caption.
That shot is AMAZING!! Nicely done, folks!
Good picture..excellent timing!
The AGM88 HARM missle is an outstanding weapon. I worked on that system, when it was installed in the old A7E Corsair II airframe with VA146 the Blue Diamonds. What a combination that was. the A7E was a solid airframe, it flew like it was on rails, it could carry it’s own weight in fuel, plus a full complement of weapons and electronics. Those were the days.