From Program Executive Office for Tactical Aircraft Public
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- A new era in Naval aviation was
launched July 1, as assembly began for the first EA-18G aircraft,
the next-generation electronic attack aircraft for the U.S.
The EA-18G combines the combat-proven F/A-18 Super Hornet
with state-of-the-art electronic warfare avionics suite.
Mechanics of Northrop Grumman loaded the first bulkhead components
for this new aircraft into the assembly tooling at the manufacturing
facility in El Segundo, Calif. The milestone comes nearly six
months after EA-18G prime contractor, The Boeing Company, began
the program's system development and demonstration phase.
On hand to watch the ceremonial assembly commencement was
Cmdr. Mark W. Darrah, Naval Air Systems Command's EA-18G deputy
“All of you are part of a revolutionary effort to bring
the EA-18G weapon system into the fleet in record time," Darrah
said. "We signed a contract with our industry partners
in December, and six months and one day later, we see our first
test asset begin production.”
The EA-18G will feature an airborne electronic
attack suite based on Northrop Grumman’s Improved Capability
3 (ICAP 3) system, a radically new jamming and information
system currently in low-rate initial production for the EA-6B
"Electronic warfare has become an essential, high- demand
tool for protecting U.S. and allied forces engaged in the global
war on terrorism. [It's] a capability provided day-in, day-out
by the Navy's fleet of EA-6B Prowlers," said Patricia
McMahon, Northrop Grumman's vice president for electronic warfare
programs. "When the ICAP 3-based EA-18G enters service,
it will become the most powerful weapon yet in the Navy's electronic
warfare tool kit."
Recognizing the utility and versatility of
the Super Hornet, the Navy is modifying the F/A-18F to perform
electronic attack mission currently being flown by the EA-6B
The EA-18G will serve as the Navy’s replacement for
the fleet of EA-6Bs, providing a capability to detect, identify,
locate and suppress hostile emitters.
Northrop Grumman expects to deliver the first EA-18G fuselage
shipset to Boeing in March 2005. It's expected to enter initial
operational capability in 2009.
For related news, visit the NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/navair.