Home' Air Force News : November 21st 2013 Contents 3
November 21, 2013
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Growler one step closer
THE first RAAF instructor pilot has
started flying the EA-18G Growler
in the United States, marking an
important milestone in the introduc-
tion of Air Force's airborne elec-
tronic attack capability.
FLTLT Sean Rutledge is train-
ing with the Electronic Attack Wing,
US Pacific Fleet (CVWP) at Naval
Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island,
Washington. Once his training is com-
plete, FLTLT Rutledge will be qual-
ified to instruct both US Navy and
RAAF student aircrew on the EA-18G
operational conversion course.
Australia is the first foreign cus-
tomer for the Growler aircraft via the
Foreign Military Sales program, with
assistance from the US Navy F/A-18
and EA-18G Program Management
Office at Naval Air Systems Command
at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland.
Production of the first of the 12
RAAF EA-18G aircraft is scheduled to
begin in 2015 and RAAF flying oper-
ations are planned to begin in early
Over the next three years, six
RAAF crews comprising a pilot and
an electronic warfare officer will learn
to fly the EA-18G at the US Navy's
Electronic Attack Squadron 129.
FLTLT Rutledge, who spent three
years flying F-111s and another three
flying F/A-18F Super Hornets, arrived
in the US in September.
He said he was well aligned with
the American fliers and his previous
experience would support his transi-
tion to the EA-18G.
He was also happy to be in the US.
"Oak Harbor a great spot with
plenty of outdoor things to do," he
"But I'll have to transition from
surfing to snow skiing to fit in with
the very welcoming people here in the
Deputy Director EA-18G Growler
Transition Team WGCDR Paul Jarvis
said training with the US Navy was
"Training with CVWP is essential
to our ability to establish a credible
airborne electronic attack capability,"
WGCDR Jarvis said.
"We've started early as there is
an awful lot to learn between now
and when we begin flying our own
EA-18Gs in 2017.
"Our first full crew arrived at
Whidbey in mid-November and the
second crew are due there in late
January at the same time that our first
EW operational support engineer
commences work at NAS Pt Mugu in
"The support we have had from the
US Navy, particularly from CVWP's
commander, CAPT John Springett,
and PMA-265's CAPT Frank Morley
and their respective teams has been
truly magnificent. They have really
made us feel welcome as new mem-
bers of the community."
The US started using the EA-18G
in 2008 and is replacing all of its tacti-
cal electronic attack platforms with
the aircraft. CVWP is in the process of
transitioning its remaining squadrons
of EA-6B Prowlers to the EA-18G.
WGCDR Jarvis said the EA-18G
was a "game changer" for the RAAF.
"With its unique mix of capabili-
ties, it provides multiple options to
commanders, all of which reduce the
risk to supported ADF or coalition
forces while increasing their lethality,"
To support the introduction of the
EA-18G, aircrew and technicians will
be predominately transitioned from the
F/A-18A/B and F/A-18F workforces.
Once transitioned, the 12 EA-18Gs
will be operated by No. 6 Squadron
at RAAF Base Amberley, alongside
No. 1 Squadron, which will continue
to operate the 24 Super Hornets.
WGCDR Paul Jarvis
and pilot FLTLT
Sean Rutledge stand
beside an EA-18G
at Naval Air Station
IMPRESSIVE CAPABILITY: An artist's
impression of the RAAF EA-18G Growler.
Image: Boeing Defence Australia
Crew Vehicle Interface
Advanced Crew Station
Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System
Link 16 / Multifunction Information Distribution System
Digital Memory Device
ALQ-218 (v) 2
Electronic Attack Unit
Antenna Interface Unit
ALQ-99 low band jammer pod
ALQ-99 high band jammer
ALQ-218 (V) 2
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