The US Navy Electronic Attack Squadron 135 (VAQ-135) has deployed the EA-18G Growler aircraft to the 5th Fleet’s area of operations to help maintain maritime stability and security in the central command’s area of responsibility (AOR).
VAQ-135 will support naval operations in the central region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
Earlier this month, personnel from VAQ-135 conducted pre-flight inspections for an EA-18G Growler at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
The squadron’s EA-18G Growlers use electronic-based airborne attack and defence capabilities to provide assistance with combat missions throughout the region.
The aircraft features an APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system and enables forces to detect, identify, locate, and suppress hostile ’emitters’.
US Navy VAQ-135 EA-18G pilot lieutenant Slawomir Glownia said: “We fly the Growler, which is a very unique platform. It has air-to-ground, air-to-air and airborne electronic attack capabilities. Our primary mission is jamming communications or enemy radar.”
While pilots are responsible for the execution of airborne electronic attack and defence capabilities, maintainers on the ground coordinate and perform various tasks to ensure the Growlers are always ready to launch.
VAQ-135 electrician mate petty officer 2nd class Ngedikes Benedict said: “Maintenance control is in charge of all the maintenance from getting it coordinated, what needs to happen first and who does what.”
The Growlers can operate from either an aircraft carrier or from land-bases. The US Navy procured the aircraft as a replacement for the EA-6B Prowler.
EA-18G aircraft can provide critical electronic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data to other joint force aircraft.
It is armed with AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles that offer protection against hostile aircraft.