By Stephen Trimble
(NSI News Source Info) February 25, 2009: Boeing has revealed further details of the likely configuration for the export-only EA-18G "enhanced awareness" sales concept.
The repackaged EA-18G Growler would be delivered without its ITT ALQ-99 radar jamming pods and interference cancellation system, says Rick Martin, Boeing's EA-18G programme manager.
Instead, it would carry a variety of signals intelligence and surveillance sensors, including Northrop Grumman's ALQ-218(V)2 radio frequency receiver and Raytheon's ALQ-227 communication countermeasures set for electronic surveillance, he says.The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based electronic warfare version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. It began production in 2007 and is slated for fleet deployment in 2009. The EA-18G will replace the US Navy's EA-6B Prowler.
Raytheon's APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar, which can be upgraded for jamming against X-band emitters, would also be part of the package, Martin says, and the sensor suite could be used to geo-locate emitters ranging from fire control radars to mobile phones.
"When we've interacted with our international customers, the general sense we get is there's a lot of interest in not so much the electronic attack aspect, but in improving their operational picture in gathering data that's actionable," Martin says. "And actionable can be a lot of different things besides just kinetic weapons on target."
Also sometimes described internally as the "Growler Lite", Boeing's exportable configuration could still be used to destroy air defences. Martin confirms that the repackaged EA-18G could carry weapons such as the Raytheon AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile or the ATK AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missile.
Boeing is not yet aiming the enhanced awareness version of the EA-18G at particular customers, but is targeting several countries, including Australia, Brazil, India and Japan, among others, for further export sales of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. "We're not responding to any direct requirements at this time," Martin says. "We think that there is a need for it and there's an interest and we think we've got a solution."