The U.S. Navy Has A New EA-18G Growler Demo Team

File photo of an Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 performing Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) at Boca Chica Field. (U.S. Navy photo by Danette Baso Silvers/Released)

The team will fly along with the Legacy Flight Team during airshows.

The U.S. Navy stood up a new official EA-18G Growler Demo Team at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. The team is made up of crews and aircraft from Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129), also known as “Vikings”, which is the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) that is in charge of the training of all naval aviators that will fly the Boeing EA-18G Growler.

According to their official Instagram account, “The Growler Demo Team performs at air shows across the United States as part of the U.S. Navy Legacy Flight Team, designed to keep Naval Aviation’s ties to its proud heritage alive and viable.” So, they will not perform in a full demonstration, but rather they will fly with legacy aircraft during air show in a similar fashion as the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight.

The team completed last week the required training with the U.S. Navy Legacy Flight Team at NAF El Centro, California, where they were pictured flying with the F-35C Lightning II, T-2 Buckeye and the F4U Corsair, other than the standard Super Hornet and the Blue Angels, and obtained the FAA certification for the 2020 airshow season.

The Growler Demo Team joins the Rhino Demonstration Team and the rumored F-35C Demo Team as official demonstration teams for the U.S. Navy. Rhino Demo Team is the new name of the former F/A-18E/F Super Hornet TACDEMO Team, which had its 2019 air show schedule canceled in June to give priority to the training of new Super Hornet aircrews, since the team is attached to the East Coast Super Hornet FRS, Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) “Gladiators”. Regarding the F-35C, the standing up of a new team was rumored just days after the cancellation of the Super Hornet TACDEMO 2019, however those rumors were denied by the U.S. Navy, as reported here on TheAviationist by Tom Demerly.

As you may already know, the EA-18G Growler is the specialized version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet for Electronic Warfare (EW) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD), which replaced the aging EA-6B Prowlers. Its most distinguishable features are the special wingtips housing the AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers and the AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, which will soon be replaced by the new Next-Gen Jammer.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.