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First Growler arrives Down Under

Minister for Defence David Johnston recently witnessed the air-to-air refuelling of F/A-18 aircraft."

Electronic warfare is fast becoming a fact of life for defence forces the world over, as well as a field that's ripe with possibilities for innovation.

Whether on land, in the air or at sea, electronics mean the ability to jam radio communications, disrupt weapons and carry out a number of other tasks. Australia has recently pushed forward with electronic warfare initiatives with the arrival of the first EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Prime contractor Boeing, along with the US Navy, handed over the aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at the end of July. Former Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown was on hand to represent the RAAF, and noted that Australia was the first country to receive the Growler outside of the US.

He went on to explain how the aircraft would bolster Australian air capabilities and make the RAAF far more lethal.

"In many respects, it's the final piece of the air power jigsaw puzzle for the RAAF, and my prediction is it will have one of the biggest strategic effects for the Australian Defence Force since the introduction of the F-111 in the 1970s."

What is the Growler?

From the outside, this aircraft appears to be an F/A-18F Super Hornet, but underneath it's an entirely different plane. Instead of the usual equipment found in standard F/A-18Fs, the Growler includes tactical jamming gear as well as electronic equipment. In the modern combat space, this functionality is essential.

"The aircraft will now fly to Naval Air Station China Lake, California, for flight testing and then Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington State, where RAAF operators will continue training with U.S. Navy aircrew to gain expertise in the highly technical electronic warfare mission," Air Marshal Brown said.

Australia will see a number of capable new aircraft over the next few years, with the F-35A set to arrive in the near future to further compliment the air force.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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