Why Boeing’s Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Is About to Become a Reality
The Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) and Distributed Targeting Processor- Networked (DTP-N) are already funded Navy programs of record for the EA-18G variant, thus integrating those technologies onto the regular strike fighter version of the airframe is a low risk proposition. However, the Navy might eventually consider retrofitting the advanced cockpit and the conformal fuel tanks onto the Growler variant to extend the range of the EA-18G and to ease the enormous crew workload onboard the electronic attack aircraft—particularly as the new Raytheon AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer comes online in 2021.
“They are all certainly applicable to the Growler, but those discussions with the Navy are ongoing,” Gillian said.
“With Super Hornet being the launch platform, moving them over into the Growler is a pretty straight forward application. They will work the same on both.”
There is also the potential that the Navy might buy additional Growlers. Navy projections beyond the Pentagon’s five-year defense plan call for 24 additional EA-18Gs and the service is already contemplating a life-extension program for the potent electronic attack platform. From Boeing’s perspective, the Navy should consider moving to an eight-aircraft Growler squadron onboard the carrier.
“Getting to eight Growlers per carrier air wing brings great benefit to the carrier air wing because you can have persistent three-ship operations,” Gillian said.
“So we see the need for some additional Growlers out there in the future.”
Thus, the Super Hornet and the Growler have a bright future and will continue to serve with the Navy for decades to come.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.