The EA-18 Growler is one of the most advanced electronic attack aircraft. It is a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet (heavily featured in Top Gun: Maverick). The Growler features an ALQ-99 electronic attack system provided by Northrop Grumman.
The US Navy gave the development contract for the EA-18 Growler to Boeing to replace its predecessor, the EA-6B Prowler. The biggest significant difference between the EA-18 Growler and F/A-18F Super Hornet was the lack of a 20 mm cannon. In place of the forward artillery, the aircraft had its own dedicated airborne electronic attack equipment.
EA-18 Growler Electronic Attack Aircraft
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The EA-18 Airborne Electronic Attack system consists of AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers on the wingtips and ALQ-99 high and low-band tactical jamming pods. The ALQ-218 and ALQ-99 enable the aircraft to detect and jam all known surface-to-air threats. However, these pods may be ineffective against new and emerging threats.
The primary missions of the EA-18 Growler are electronic attack and suppression of enemy air defenses. The aircraft’s advanced system enables the pilot to direct the weapons against enemy aircraft accurately. It can blind enemies in a flight which is a significant tactical advantage.
The EA-18 Growler has a range of 2,050 Km and a combat radius of 630 Km. The aircraft is fitted with two powerful F414-GE-400 engines providing a massive thrust of 44,000 lbs. Its maximum speed is 1.8 Mach which translates to 1381.08 mph. Due to its flight performance, it can escort F/A-18s during all phases of an attack mission.
The Growler can also carry missiles to jam enemy communication while maintaining its comms using the INCANS Interference Cancellation system. The aircraft is now more than 15 years old and have received a few upgrades like a Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), TTNT datalink, forward-looking infrared pod, and AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
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