Australia buys 12 EA-18G Growlers

Officials say Australia has become the first country other than the United States to buy Boeing EA-18G Growler advanced electronic warfare technology.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Thursday the Australian air force will equip 12 of Australia’s F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters with Growler radar-jamming equipment and other gear to knock out a wide array of electronic devices. The upgrade starting in 2018 will cost $1.5 billion.

The sharing of rare U.S. military technology now in service with the U.S. Navy comes as the United States deepens its defense ties with Australia and juggles its might in the Asia-Pacific region in response to the rise of China.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • Johnny Ranger

    OK, according to Wikipedia (I know, not always a temple of factual information), The Aussies purchased 24 Super Hornets, half of which were “wired” to allow the possibility of conversion to Growler configuration at some point down the road. The article references an “upgrade”, which leads me to believe that they are not “buying 12 Growlers”, but rather completing the conversion of 12 existing SH’s to Growler configuration. Am I interpreting the article correctly, or are these 12 new aircraft, in addition to the original 24?

  • eaglemmoomin

    Wow so on a simplistic level thats $125 million dollars per plane just to modify them then, ouch.

  • therock

    Makes sense. AUS has always been a reliable ally and with the emergence of power in Asia we would be shooting ourselves in the foot by hoarding effective capabilities. It’s pretty obvious to see where our projection lies. F-22s in Japan and Alaska. Marines being positioned into Australia. All part of the chess game.

  • Stan

    I’m glad we’re sharing our highest electronic tech with our close allies the Aussies. They have stood beside us in every war we’ve ever fought and to my knowledge have never compromised any of the tech we have sold them. Unlike some of our allies like S. Korea, Japan, Israel, ect.

  • BlackOwl18E

    Australia buying EA-18G’s at the cost of decreased F-35s? Sounds awesome. They are going to rely on jamming and SEAD to effectively kill SAMs.

    • William C.

      This is unrelated to the Australians arguing over F-35 numbers. When the RAAF bought the F/A-18Fs they had some of them wired with the capability to be modified to EA-18G standard. This seems to be them going ahead with that option, not buying new airframes.

      • BlackOwl18E

        They had them modified to be converted into the EA-18G only if they didn’t think the F-35 turning out well. The EA-18G was their back up plan to increase their capability. Also, the money they spent on upgrading those Super Hornets to the Growler is all money that would have been spent on buying F-35s: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/08/23/austra

  • RunningBeard

    Mutual benefits, the RAAF flying the Growler will add significant “front line” ISR data to the systems databases. With EW being a truly ‘daily” dynamic environment, upgrades of technology and tactics are constant. With limited basing in SW Asia, the USN can significantly benefit from the exposure of the RAAF Growlers in their AO. Having the Aussies honed to a “fine edge” in EW will bring to the table, resources unlikely available from other allies. This training and practice will be invaluable to the RAAF in transition to the F-35 and it’s EW suite.

  • Nick Hanlon

    Just as tidbit..it’s the Royal Australian Air Force..my grandfather who served with themwould absolutely insist upon that or just calling them the Raaf.

  • Dan d’Errico

    At least one ally will keep some of companies going if sequestration takes hold. EF-18Gs in the land down under, GREAT!

  • Nicky

    Why don’t AUS just cancel the F-35 and go with either the F-15SE or the Super Hornet program and the Growler program. They could save themselves a boat load of money in canceling the F-35 and going with the Super Hornet and Growler program.

  • YOUNG

    AUSTRALIA IS RUN BUY COMMUNIST LABOR PARTY,THEY HAVE DESTROYED THE ADF,THE G,s ARE ONLY F,s, THAT WE ALL READY HEAD.THE COMMUNIST WANT TO SHIFT AWAY FOR AMERICA,TO CHINA AND RUSSIA.R.I.P. AUSTRALIA.

    • Matt

      Tsk, tsk, using capital letters is no substitute for the facts…

    • Young (too)

      mate, you hit your head or something?? Our CAPITALIST standard of living is arguably better the yours (the US?).

      Also, go Obama. We think that dude rocks (mads given in 3…2..1…)

      • YOUNG

        THE ANTICHRIST.

  • P.C. or die

    Can’t some people read? It clearly says EA-18G.

    • blight_

      Headline:

      “Australia buys 12 EA-18Gs…”

      Para 2:

      “…the Australian air force will equip 12 of Australia’s F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters with Growler radar-jamming equipment…”

    • Tom

      This made me lol, Mr Abbott.

  • Matrix_3692

    i was just wondering when my country, Malaysia is going to have enough budget to upgrade it’s small fleet of Hornet D to G variant. My country’s AF don’t even have a dedicated electronic plane to date.

  • blight_

    I wonder if an appropriately wired SH can be converted “in the field” (or whatever passes for in the field for the Marines) to the Growler config as needed. It could be interesting…

    • JJMurray

      Nope, not even close. The changes are pretty major. Even with the wiring in place you wouldn’t be able to do this in the field or even on the flight line back home.

  • PolicyWonk

    The US Navy thought it was a good idea to create another jamming platform – while the USAF did not – and are subsequently now far behind. Apparently the “chair-force” thought stealth was the only solution.

  • YOUNG

    The only planes the RAAF has got in the last 5 years is 2 C17,S, what a joke.

  • YOUNG

    DUDE,I SAID THE LAST 5 YEARS,ALL THE PLANES YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT,WAS GOT UNDER THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT.THE COMMUNIST GOT IN 2007,AFTER THAT ONLY 2 C17,S ,HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO THE RAAF.ALSO ONLY 24 SUPER HORNETS,NOT 28.YOU ARE DREAMING SIR,SO WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE ON.

    • dave

      You silly person! you wouldn’t know a communist if he was up you with an arm full of deck chairs. FYI the ALP has always out sent the conservatives on defence.

      • Perth

        The ALP have never outspent the Libs on defence. Look at the current mob under Gillard who have slashed billions from capability. The lowest level of GDP since 1938.

  • Anthony Burrows

    It would make more sense for the RAAF’s future combat forces to be F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-22 Raptor. The F-35 Lightning is NOT suitable to Australia’s needs and it has become an exspensive farce.