The US Navy has awarded a $386m contract to Boeing for work on 44 EA-18G full-rate production electronic attack EA-18G aircraft.

Under the contract, the company will provide two sets of 22 EA-18G airborne electronic attack kits and related engineering services.

The navy’s currently-in-service EA-6B Prowler will be replaced by the new EA-18G Growlers, which entered the aavy’s aircraft fleet in 2008. Derived from the combat-proven F/A-18F aircraft, the EA-18G incorporates advanced AEA avionics and can suppress enemy air defences using both reactive and pre-emptive jamming techniques.

Additional capabilities of the aircraft include stand-off and escort jamming, non-traditional electronic attack, self-protect and time-critical strike support, and advanced communication countermeasures.

The aircraft can be operated from the deck of an aircraft carrier or from regular airfields.

The first squadron of EA-18 Growlers are being used by the navy, based at Whidbey Island, Washington.

Production work under the contract runs until December 2012.