A derivative of the combat-proven, two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G, which is being developed for the U.S. Navy, will enable warfighters to perform an array of airborne electronic attack (AEA) missions, operating from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields. The EA-18G integrates the capabilities of the most advanced AEA system, designed and produced by Northrop Grumman. The AEA system in the Growler features a derivative of Northrop Grumman's Improved Capability (ICAP) III system for the EA-6B Prowler, which has had remarkable success in Operation Iraqi Freedom, its first combat deployment.
The U.S. Navy selected the EA-18G to replace the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. Boeing/Northrop Grumman received the EA-18G Systems Development and Demonstration phase contract on Dec. 29, 2003. The aircraft's first flight occurred in 2006. EA-18G flight and mission system testing is taking place at the Navy's Patuxent River, Md. and China Lake, Calif., test sites through 2008.
Two development EA-18G aircraft have been delivered. Four Lot 30 EA-18G aircraft will be built for Operational test and Evaluation (OPEVAL). Initial operational capability is scheduled for the end of 2009.