Growler Power: EA-18G boasts F-22 kill (PHOTOS)

ea_18G_ea1.jpg



Today was Electronic Awareness Warfare Appreciation Day at Andrews AFB. The base hosted a sort of petting zoo for high-tech jamming systems. I noticed a Boeing EA-18G parked on the side, and struck up a conversation with the pilot.

As we chatted about interference cancellation systems, I couldn’t help but notice an odd decal decorating the side of the fuselage. I asked the pilot: What’s that aircraft decal on the fuselage?

“That’s an F-22,” he said.


ea18g_f22kill.jpg



Well, why is it there?

“Because this is the EA-18G that killed an F-22,” he explained.

Um, really?

Alas, after that bombshell, the conversation quickly dried up. I did learn the EA-18G kill was courtesy of a well-timed AIM-120 AMRAAM shot. And I learned the simulated combat exercise took place at Nellis AFB. How the EA-18G escort jammer got the shot, and whether its jamming system played a role in the incident were not questions the pilot was prepared to answer.

For the spotters, the aircraft pictured above is EA-1, the first of two Lot 27 F/A-18Fs converted into flying prototypes for the EA-18G program.

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46 Responses to Growler Power: EA-18G boasts F-22 kill (PHOTOS)

  1. solomon 25 February, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Mr. Trimble,

    first…get flickr
    second…post these pics in hi rez!

    thanks,
    the general public

  2. fightingirish 26 February, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Well, it looks more to me as as YF-22 decal. Just notice the wings and the rear fuselage. :-)
    Oh, some PAK-FA concepts look similar to the YF-22 from a bird-view angle.
    ;-D
    Slán,
    fightingirish

  3. Sven Ortmann 26 February, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Now that’s a photo to drive APA mad!

  4. Stephen Trimble 26 February, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Of course, looked at another way, it’s a huge compliment to the F-22. You don’t usually see a kill decal for a simulated combat victory. The fact that this “kill” merited such an extraordinary display of pride says a lot about what the Growler community thinks about the F-22.

  5. Mike Plunkett 26 February, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    This is not entirely unprecedented. I remember seeing some Super Hornet gun camera footage a few years back showing an F-22 in the perfect position for a guns kill. Ok, not a Growler, but close :)

  6. Mike Plunkett 26 February, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    And here are the aforementioned pictures:

    http://www.alert5.com/2006/04/fa-18f-guns-down-f-22a.html

    http://www.alert5.com/2006/04/fa-18f-guns-down-f-22a-update.html

  7. Redone 26 February, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    “The fact that this “kill” merited such an extraordinary display of pride says a lot about what the Growler community thinks about the F-22.”

    Or how the navy hate the overated F-22

  8. Stephen Trimble 26 February, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    “Or how the navy hate the overated F-22 ”

    Right. Or that!

  9. Dave 26 February, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    That’s kinda pathetic when you’re painting a simulated kill marking on your plane…

    • Picard578 13 February, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      European air forces do that all the time.

  10. EG 26 February, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    Get an airplane outside of it’s designed mission envelope and you can probably kill it.

    The USAF probably could have killed MiG-17s all day long in Vietnam with enough Sparrows at BVR. Go ACM and the MiG is going to eat your lunch. Interceptor Vs. Fighter is not good for the interceptor.

    • RC 8 April, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      “with enough Sparrows”

      Considering the Sparrow’s hit rate, that would have been A LOT of Sparrows…

  11. Alert 5 27 February, 2009 at 2:20 am #

    Just to clarify, those Alert 5 gun shots are from an F/A-18E/F. Not the Growler. That incident took place somewhere on the East Coast.

  12. Gregg 27 February, 2009 at 3:34 am #

    “That’s kinda pathetic when you’re painting a simulated kill marking on your plane… ”

    I recall seeing F-15 Eagles with F-14 “Kills” painted on them and the opposite as well … Nothing new with having a little Intra-service rivalries in good fun …

  13. puppethead 27 February, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    But the F-22 is not a pure interceptor F-106/Lightning-style – it’s supposed to be able to take out anything in the air from BVR down to the old school knife fight. To think that it could be beaten by a) an attack type b) a Navy type – how embarrassing! BTW what was the EA-18G toting? It gets worse for the Air Force if the Growler scored with ALQ-99s under the wings!

    Note: speaking from Down Under, I have no problem with the concept of a Raptor/Super Hornet mix – see our MP’s comments regarding Congress’ disinterest in supplying F-22s to anyone outside the USAF ( http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Australian-MP-US-Allies-Sold-Short-on-New-Fighters-05301/ ) – and no, I’m not on his side of politics.

  14. P-fighter 27 February, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Granted, the rivalry swings both ways all the time. I can’t speak for whoever made that “kill,” but keep in mind that most of the guys flying the Growler right now aren’t ex-Prowler guys, but proficient fighter pilots who have been killing for a living for more than a few years in the Hornet already.

    But I agree, simulated kill painting is tacky humor (probably NFO-influenced, sorry ‘FOs). Controversial HUD tapes are better. :)

  15. Mike Plunkett 27 February, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    Alert 5: In my defence, I did point out that the gun camera shots were from a Super Hornet and not a Growler. I was just trying to illustrate that F-22 ‘kills’ are not unheard of :)

  16. SMSgt Mac 28 February, 2009 at 4:32 am #

    And just as in the earlier referenced F-18 event, and just as importantly, without the exact details, the relevance of the event cannot be known. Look at the earlier HUD pic and data shown. Looks more like the F-18 was falling on the F-22. Had the -22 already spanked the -18 and was the -18 was playing tourist as the -22 went by? Who knows?

    Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan of the overweight variant of the LWF competition loser.

    No one claims the F-22 is invincible. However, It would be interesting to see the F-22 ready-room tally sheets as to how many F-18s and others have ‘died’ in the process of a Growler managing to get a good shot in.

    Now, what I want to see is a SAR snapshot taken from a B-2 of an unsuspecting CAG steaming within direct attack weapons range. Oh where art thou ye who are the next Billy Mitchell? [I know, that ain't gonna happen either]

  17. Gregg 28 February, 2009 at 5:09 am #

    There are quite a few former Tomcat Drivers in the Rhino/Shocker Community as well …

  18. Paul Barrett 8 March, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    It will always be the man in the machine, that makes the difference.

  19. Andrew 8 May, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    ” “The fact that this “kill” merited such an extraordinary display of pride says a lot about what the Growler community thinks about the F-22.”

    Or how the navy hate the overated F-22″

    or more likely a Boeing vs Lockheed fight

  20. Josh 19 July, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Looking at this (if it’s true), I think it must have been just a lucky flying squids crew who just happened to come across an F-22 Raptor without the Raptor pilot knowing they were there. There is no way this could have been a BVR victory!! The Raptor is almost impossible to detect. The Raptor is the most advanced fighter in the world, I don’t care what any jealous pilot of another plane says. No matter what type of engagement BVR or WVR the F-22 will always be the one flying away from the falling, burning enemy. Plus a GROWLER give me a break, but I wouldn’t believe this either if it was F/A-18E or an F-15C even. (see I’m fair). But either way I’m still sceptical.

  21. Bones 27 August, 2009 at 3:32 am #

    The F-22 has been shot down by F-16 and F-15 agressors at Nellis who train in ‘Russian tactics’. It has even been shot
    down by a gun T-38 pilot. The pilot makes the plane not a pilot. A typical computer pilots answer I guess. If missiles
    worked all the time we would have BVR over N.Vietnam. Rules
    of Engagement forced us to go close…

    F-22 is no longer safe in the dogfighting arena than any other
    plane in a close quarter fight. A better trained pilot may also
    detect and evade any missile and ecm forcing a traditional dogfight. Case closed.

  22. Bill 5 September, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Why would a Growler be flying an air to air mission? I know it has the capability, but just for self defense. I think this is the typical Navy arrogance, and always having to make sure people think they’re better (really for no reason, ever). People always talk about how the F-22 is overated? Hmmmmmmm….. well aren’t all you Growler, and squid supporters doing the same thing for your bugs, as you are acusing the Raptor supporters of doing. Think about it! The Navy is just jealous that they are a “NAVY” (boats) and not an “AIR FORCE” (Planes). Yeah they fly planes, but that’s not their main job, nor are they any better at it than anyone else. (despite a squid pilot’s twisted way of thinking). The Navy is just jealous that they don’t have a comparable plane, nor should they they’re a “NAVY” (boats)

  23. oke 19 September, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Umm, YF-22 is the prototype version of f-22 you cant compare these two o.O.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-22_Raptor

  24. Nameless Soilder 26 December, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    Woops, F-22 has Shoot downed by EA-18G!?
    So suprising!
    That Growler’s “F-22 Kill Mark” is very very impressive :)

  25. Scott Brown 10 March, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    Why would a Growler be flying an air to air mission? “I know it has the capability, but just for self defense. I think this is the typical Navy arrogance, and always having to make sure people think they’re better (really for no reason, ever). People always talk about how the F-22 is overated? Hmmmmmmm….. well aren’t all you Growler, and squid supporters doing the same thing for your bugs, as you are acusing the Raptor supporters of doing. Think about it! The Navy is just jealous that they are a “NAVY” (boats) and not an “AIR FORCE” (Planes). Yeah they fly planes, but that’s not their main job, nor are they any better at it than anyone else. (despite a squid pilot’s twisted way of thinking). The Navy is just jealous that they don’t have a comparable plane, nor should they they’re a “NAVY” (boats)”

    The jet was assigned to VFA-103 at the time of the “kill”.

  26. Deep6 25 March, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    If it bleeds, we can kill it.

  27. Bronco46 16 June, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    We aren’t told if the “kill” involved an F-22 that was stealth’d up. In other words was the aircraft using the beacons that allow it to be seen when flying in the vicinity of friendly forces.

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  34. Inversion Table 28 November, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Obviously not Australian to whom the word ‘growler’ has an ENTIRELY different meaning !

  35. asdf 1 December, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    all of them, i’d say…
    the bulkheads for sure, they are titanium on a and c.

  36. asdf 1 December, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    The jet was assigned to VFA-103 at the time of the “kill”.

    or were they testing the 22 against some out-of-the-box thinking that an enemy could do? (heavy jamming)

  37. Bronco46 2 December, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Since this was a gun kill this doesn’t reflect on the aircraft. It reflects on the pilot. This plane is not meant to be seen. Something that was never meant to happen was going on here.

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  39. Doogleplex 11 December, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Other countries’ aircraft, even other U.S. services’ aircraft are routine visitors to Nellis and Red Flag. Red Flag is all about every aspect of air combat, not just fighter vs. fighter. Throwing -in dissimilar aircraft or aircraft with different roles makes for interesting training hops. EW is a big part of that training, on both sides of the coin, thus NO surprise that this aircraft was involved (probably on the RED side) and denying radar usage to the students! Undoubtedly led to a furball with visual-only.
    As others have said many times, the crate matters little, it’s who is in the crate that matters most! EW bird or not, the Hornet is a plane I wouldn’t take my eyes-off in combat or it’ll have you for lunch! Whether or not the signature beacons were activated on this F-22, who can say for sure? Perhaps the F-22 is not as stealthy as everyone believes or perhaps the right conditions (close range, deflected flight surfaces, missile bay doors open for a very brief moment, etc.) were present at the time of the AMRAAM shot?
    Believing a plane is all but invincible is just utter nonsense! I used to feel that the F-14 was the best in the world and I would defend it against any detractors! Of course as the years go by, you see that other planes can and have beat it in exercises, many times. There is even a You Tube video from a documentary showing aggressor F-16′s beating a pair of Tomcats flown by students. Of course all the pro-F-16 community uses this as proof their aircraft is the best! I can, however, rest assured that F-14′s have knocked-down their fair share of Falcons at Top Gun, too!! The F-14 is still my favorite though and I have come to grips with it’s flaws. Put a great pilot in it though (such as Cmd.”Heater” Heatly), and they’ll give you a spankin’!!
    Bottom line-the F-22 pilot was a student put into the stress that is Red Flag and got HAD! I’m sure they have won and loss many times since that day! Just don’t go thinking they’re invincible up there! Remember-all of these aircraft are good and on the same side at the end of the day.

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