The Growler in Australia: Part of the RAAF’s Augmentation of Its Tron Warfare Capabilities


2017-04-04 The RAAF participated in Red Flag 17-1 with the USAF and the RAF.

During that exercise, the critical change element was the introduction of the F-35 and its impact on reshaping the air combat space.

As one RAF participant put it:  “The impact of the F-35 is so immediate that we looked at the 4th generation aircraft from the perspective of what can we provide to the F-35 led combat force.”

In that exercise, the Aussie Wedgetail played a key role in highlighting the capabilities of a post-AWACs quarterback and evolving Tron Warfare asset.

The upgrade program for Wedgetail will see significant upgrades which will provide for a significant Tron Warfare capability as well

Group Captain Glen Braz, OC of the 82nd Wing.

From that perspective, the RAAF is introducing the Growler into the RAAF as part of its learning process on shaping broader non-kinetic effects.

They have as well and organized their residual Super Hornets and Growlers into the same Wing based at Amberley Airbase, 82nd Wing.

Second Line of Defense visited Amberley Air Base in early April 2017 and one of the interviews was conducted with Group Captain Glen Braz, OC of the 82nd Wing.

That interview will be published later this month.

But it is clear that with Wedgetail already in the force and P-8s and F-35s on their way, Growler will be part of a broader community of warfighters shaping a way ahead in Tron Warfare on more broadly on shaping the evolving con-ops for non- kinetic effects.

The photos in this slideshow were shot on April 3, 2017 at Amberley Airbase.

The RAAF will have a squadron of 12 Growlers with 4 already in country.

By the end of this week there should be seven in country.

At the Avalon Airshow, the first Growlers arrived and one of the pilots of the incoming Growlers was a US Navy pilot which illustrates the close working relationship between the US Navy and the RAAF.

According to the RAAF:

The EA-18G Growler is an airborne electronic attack aircraft capable of providing force level electronic warfare support by disrupting, deceiving or denying a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communications.

The 12 EA-18G Growlers will be based at RAAF Base Amberley and will operate in conjunction with our air, land and sea forces. The capability will reduce the risk to our forces and improve their situational awareness.

The aircraft will be able to support the full spectrum of Defence tasks, from peacetime evacuations to major conflicts.

The aircraft is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet airframe and fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite and ALQ radio-frequency jamming pods which enable it to jam enemy systems.

It will provide a complementary capability to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the future F-35A Lighting II aircraft.

The EA-18G Growler purchase includes the aircraft, required mission and support systems, training, and ongoing support to effectively develop and operate a Growler capability. Defence plans to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2018.