Five Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aviators recently completed training for the Boeing EA-18G Growler at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. Although the RAAF currently operates the two-seat Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet on which the Growler is based, this initial group is the first to undergo Growler-specific training with the US Navy.
The Aussie aircrew trained with VAQ-129 Vikings, the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the Growler, and builds upon the already strong RAAF-US Navy partnership from a similar setup during the RAAF’s initial Super Hornet training at NAS Lemoore. Following their graduation, the newly-minted Growler crews are slated for two-year tours with US Navy fleet expeditionary squadrons.
Per the US Navy article: “The graduation of the first crews marks a key milestone for our partnership,” said Capt. Darryl Walker, commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The RAAF aircrew are truly outstanding in the air and have proven to be highly-capable officers. The RAAF personnel addition to our expeditionary force is a win-win for both countries.”
As the first foreign customer for Boeing’s tactical electronic attack solution, Australia has ordered a dozen Growlers, to be delivered in 2017 with hopes to be IOC by 2018. Operating from the RAAF’s Base Amberley, the Growlers will join their Boeing counterparts of No. 1 and 6 Squadrons, both of which fly the Super Hornet.
Congratulations to both the US Navy and the RAAF!