The U.S. Navy recently flew Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft with sensor system upgrades and its newest data network, demonstrating how the enhanced technologies would allow aircrews to locate threats more quickly and accurately.
Ultimately, the secure, high-speed network will allow aircrews to share targeting data in real time. The technology will be incorporated into deployed Growler electronic attack aircraft in 2018, sooner than all Navy aircraft other than the E-2D Hawkeye surveillance airplane.
“These enhancements provide a significantly faster, more accurate and adaptable targeting solution for the Navy and allied forces,” said Capt. Frank Morley, U.S. Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager. “The result is a more capable EA-18G that is better able to control the EA spectrum.”
The demonstration occurred July 15-19 during the Navy’s fleet experimentation campaign at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Integrating the technology onto the Growler involved a series of upgrades that provide “an affordable, low-risk approach to adding capability that allows us to deliver advanced technologies to the fleet more quickly,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president.
The upgrades are planned to be retrofitted into existing Growlers and included as a standard offering for future new aircraft sales. Boeing and the Navy will work closely with supplier partners Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications and Rockwell Collins to add system upgrades to the fleet.
The Growler is derived from the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet. It’s the United States’ newest and most advanced airborne electronic attack platform, providing electronic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to other aircraft. It has been combat deployed since 2010 by U.S. and allied forces around the world.