The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fleet of Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft have achieved initial operating capability (IOC).

“Over time, this aircraft will work with Army and Navy platforms to enhance our ability to control the electronic environment, and where necessary, deny or degrade the electronic systems of adversaries,” says Air Marshal Leo Davies.

“This will provide a capability edge by enhancing tactical options to reduce risks to Australian and partner maritime, land and air forces in more complex and high-tech conflicts of the future.”

RAAF EA-18G Growler

Greg Waldron

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 General Electric F414 engine. The aircraft was attempting to take off from Nellis AFB near Las Vegas during a Red Flag-series exercise. No personnel were injured, but the aircraft was a write-off.

The RAAF has yet to decide if the 12th Growler will be replaced. Options could include modifying one of the RAAF’s existing F/A-18Es or buying a new aircraft.

The RAAF is one of two militaries to operate the Growler. The US Navy operates 169 examples with two on order. The EA-18G replaced the venerable Grumman EA-6B Prowler in US Navy service.