EA-18G Growler Electronic Attack Aircraft:
Based on the successful F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18 Growler is an electronic warfare aircraft with the performance of a fighter. Unlike its predecessor the EA-6B Prowler, the Growler is capable of being used more aggressively, pacing high performance fighter bombers on dangerous missions.
The Growler is basically a two seat Super Hornet, with 90 percent commonality in some features between the two planes. The Super Hornet’s internal M61 gun is deleted to accommodate an AN/ALQ-227 communications jamming system, and AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pods are fitted to the plane’s weapons stations.
Growler has three key capabilities. Firstly, it can conduct Suppression of Enemy Air Defense missions in support of drones or UAVs. Growler can jam communications and enemy radars on the ground and actively attack radars with anti-radar HARM missiles.
Second, Growler can conduct stand-off and escort jamming, against air defenses on the ground, enemy airborne early warning platforms and enemy fighters. Growler can keep up with fighters conducting a counter-air sweep and keep enemy radars and communications scrambled. Third, Growler is also capable of what is called “Non-Traditional Electronic Attack,” a somewhat mysterious capability which supposedly allows it to “integrate with ground defenses.”
In addition to those capabilities, Growler can also self-protect, allowing fighters that would otherwise escort it to be used elsewhere. Growler is as fast and maneuverable as a F/A-18F, and can carry AMRAAM air to air missiles for defensive use. Despite its electronic warfare designation, it is still is equipped with an APG-79 multi-mode AESA radar and a Helmet-Mounted Cueing System for air to air combat.