Australia has announced the purchase of equipment that would allow it reconfigure 12 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft into the EA-18G Growler variant.

The $19 million purchase covers "long lead item electronic equipment" such as electronic systems, antennas, and high frequency modulation receivers, says minister for defence Stephen Smith in a statement.

"The decision to purchase this equipment has been made now to ensure Australia continues to have potential access to the Growler technology," says Smith. "A final decision on whether Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration will be made after exhaustive assessment by the government this year. This purchase ensures Australia will continue to have access to specific technologies needed to make any such conversion."

The deal will be conducted through the US Foreign Military Sales mechanism.

In 2009, Australia spent $35 million for 12 yet-to-be delivered Super Hornets to be modified so that any future Growler upgrade would be less invasive.

Source: Flight International