The US government has cleared the sale of a single Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare jet to Australia, as a replacement for an aircraft written off in 2018.

The cost of the single-aircraft transaction is estimated at $125 million, according to a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification.

RAAF EA-18G Growler

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler at the 2017 Avalon Airshow

“The government of Australia has requested to buy a United States Navy [USN] EA-18G aircraft,” says the DSCA. “The USN EA-18G aircraft will then be modified into a Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] EA-18G aircraft configuration.”

The package includes engineering, modification, validation flights, maintenance, storage, and other assistance. The sale will bring the RAAF’s EA-18G fleet back up to 12 airframes.

The DSCA adds that the aircraft will “be provided from US Navy stock”. 

Canberra operates 11 EA-18Gs from RAAF Amberley. It formerly had 12, but one was lost in early 2018 owing to the catastrophic failure of a fan disk in its left side GE Aviation F414 engine. The aircraft was attempting to take off from Nellis AFB near Las Vegas, Nevada, during a Red Flag-series exercise. No personnel were injured, but the aircraft was a write-off.

The RAAF is one of two militaries to operate the Growler, with Cirium fleets data showing that the USN operates 161 examples.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” says the DSCA.

“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.”