Boeing on 25 September delivered the first of 90 planned EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to the US Navy.

The first aircraft - named “G1” - was accepted by Delores Etter, assistant secretary of the navy for research, development and acquisition, at a delivery ceremony at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' headquarters in St Louis, Missouri.

© Boeing

“The Growler team has remained on cost and schedule, while meeting or exceeding all performance parameters,” said Etter.

However, she also released a statement that appeared to downgrade the number of EA-18Gs that the navy intends to buy. The service's original plans called for buying a fleet of 90 aircraft, derived from Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter.

“We have a great start to a total procurement of over 80 Gs, which will operate in our fleet for decades to come,” Etter said.

Growler flies 
© Boeing

Flight testing of the EA-18G is expected to conclude during 2008, with the aircraft scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in 2009, when it will begin to replace the USN's Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers.