"Growler" Is Navy's Latest Electronic Attack Aircraft
Northrop Grumman Corporation told ANN this week it delivered the
center/aft fuselage section for the first production-configured
development model of the EA-18G Growler, the US Navy's
next-generation electronic attack aircraft.
The fuselage shipset, measuring nearly 30 feet long and 18 feet
high at the tip of its twin vertical tails, was completed in April
on the company's F/A-18 assembly line in El Segundo, CA. Northrop
Grumman operates the only two remaining combat aircraft production
lines in Southern California.
The EA-18G is a derivative of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the
Navy's frontline carrier-based strike fighter. Northrop Grumman has
been the principal subcontractor to The Boeing Company on all
models of the F/A-18 for nearly 30 years. Northrop Grumman
previously delivered shipsets for two Growler flight test aircraft,
and the latest delivery is the first of four under the system
development and demonstration phase of the program.
The F/A-18 program accounts for more than 10,000 jobs in
California at more than 700 supplier companies. Northrop Grumman
has produced nearly 1,800 shipsets for all models of the F/A 18
since the program began in 1976.
The EA-18G is scheduled to begin replacing the venerable EA-6B
Prowler, the nation's only manned electronic attack aircraft, by
the end of the decade. Like the Northrop Grumman-built Prowler, the
Growler will have a Northrop Grumman airborne electronic attack
system to perform surveillance and to electronically attack enemy
radars, communications nets and other threats vulnerable to
electronic destruction, disruption or manipulation.
The Growler's electronic attack suite is based on the advanced
Improved Capability (ICAP) III system developed by Northrop Grumman
for the EA-6B. The EA-18G's effectiveness will be enhanced by the
advanced sensors and weaponry capabilities of the F/A-18E/F.
Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector produces and
integrates the center/aft fuselage and all associated subsystems
for the F/A-18 and EA-18G. Each fuselage "shipset" is delivered
from El Segundo to Boeing's production facility in St. Louis, MO.
Northrop Grumman is also the EA-18G airborne electronic attack
system integrator and performs this work in Bethpage, NY under a
separate contract with Boeing.