Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government would spend more than $19 million to purchase long lead item electronic equipment for the potential conversion of twelve of Australia’s F-18 Super Hornet’s to the EA-18G Growler variant.
In 2009, the Government made the decision to wire 12 Super Hornets for potential conversion to the Growler configuration at a cost of $35 million.
Growler is an electronic warfare system that gives the Super Hornet the ability to jam the electronics systems of aircraft and land-based radars and communications systems. The Growler electronic warfare aircraft was used very effectively by the United States Navy during air operations in Libya last year.
The long lead items are systems and equipment that are required for any potential conversion of Australia’s existing Super Hornets and include:
- Electronic systems;
- Antennas; and
- High Frequency modulation receivers
The decision to purchase this equipment has been made now to ensure Australia continues to have potential access to the Growler technology. A final decision on whether Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration will be made after exhaustive assessment by the Government this year. This purchase ensures Australia will continue to have access to specific technologies needed to make any such conversion.
The purchase of this equipment is being made through the United States Foreign Military Sales process. As part of this process, a Letter of Request formally requesting the purchase has been delivered to the United States.
If Australia converts some of its Super Hornets to Growler configuration it will be the only country in the world, other than the United States, operating such aircraft.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11122537
Mr Smith - Ellen Shields 0400 347 473
Mr Clare - Korena Flanagan 0418 251 316
Defence Media Operations - (02) 6127 1999