Boeing has inducted the first US Navy (USN) EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft for the five-year capability modification programme.

The aircraft was inducted at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) in Washington, US.

The Boeing-built EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft is a derivative of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter.

Boeing said that the modifications are majorly focused on updating the aircraft’s structural and mission systems architecture to enable ‘future capability growth’ for the USN’s 160 Growler aircraft.

Growlers play a major role in jamming radar and communications signals of threat forces, disabling the enemy forces’ ability to detect and track American and allied military forces.

The operational Growler Capability Modification line was stood up on-site by the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265).

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Overall cost, schedule and performance metrics were worked out by PMA-265 in close partnership with AEA Systems Program Office (PMA-234), Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Indiana, Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, and Boeing.

US Pacific Fleet Electronic Attack Wing commander Bahner said: “We’re excited to have the Growler industry team here working on capabilities that will bring the fleet enhanced electronic surveillance, enhanced data link and the ability to carry the Next Generation Jammer pod.

“We look forward to being a cooperative partner with PMA-265 and PMA-234 at Naval Air Systems Command and the Growler industry team on this exciting work.”

The modification work follows contract awards in October and February for materials and labour.

Work under this contract includes several upgrades for Growler mission systems.

The aircraft’s ALQ-218 receiver system will receive the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) System Enhancements modification.

This enables the Growler jet to operate in highly complex electromagnetic (EM) environments.

Furthermore, Boeing will ready the jet for the ‘Next Generation Jammer’ capability.

Full rate modification of the Navy Growlers is expected to start in June.