the F/A-18A+/C Hornet onboard its carriers. In 2012, the Navy’s F-
35 readiness squadron, VFA- 101, was established at Eglin Air Force
Base, Fla., and on Oct. 1, 2013, rolled out the fleet’s first F-35Cs. In
2011, the Marine Corps decided to procure F-35Cs. The U.K. Royal
Navy’s decision to purchase F-35Cs in lieu of F-35Bs was reversed
in 2012 in favor of the F-35B. The Navy and Marine Corps plan to
procure 260 and 63 F-35Cs, respectively.
As of December 2014, 13 F-35Cs had been delivered to the
Navy in addition to five F-35C System Development and
Demonstration aircraft. An additional 13 F-35Cs were on order
through low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 8, including the
first F-35C for the Marine Corps. IOC of the F-35C is scheduled
for August 2018. (See the Marine Corps Aircraft section for
characteristics and description of the F-35B)
Data applies to F-35C
WINGSPAN: .................. 43 feet
LENGTH:...................... 51. 5 feet
WEIGH T: .......................empty, 34,800 pounds
MAX WEIGHT:...............takeoff, 70,000 pounds
SPEED:......................... 1.0 Mach
RANGE:........................ 1,400 nautical miles unrefueled; radius, 615
POWER PLANT:........... 1 Pratt & Whitney F- 135 turbofan engine
ARMAMENT: ................laser-guided bombs, JDAM, cluster munitions,
CREW: .......................... 1 pilot
CONTRACTORS:.........Lockheed Martin Corp., Pratt & Whitney,
Northrop Grumman Corp., BAE Systems,
BRIEFING: The EA-18G Growler is a variant of the Block II
F/A-18F Super Hornet and is the Navy replacement for the EA-
6B Prowler. This airborne electronic attack aircraft combines
modern advances in Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) systems
and weapons with the unmatched tactical versatility, advancements and capabilities of the Block II Super Hornet.
Currently, the EA-18G uses the ALQ- 99 Tactical Jamming
System pods, ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-227 Communications
Countermeasures Set Receiver and the Multimission Advanced
Tactical Terminal (MATT). The MATT will be replaced with the
Joint Tactical Terminal-Receiver (JTT-R) in 2016. The JTT-R
currently is in production. The Next-Generation Jammer will
replace the ALQ- 99 jamming pods in the 2020s.
Boeing rolled out EA- 1, the first prototype NEA-18G
Growler, on Aug. 4, 2006. EA- 1’s first flight occurred Aug. 15,
2006. The aircraft was delivered to NAS Patuxent River on Sept.
22, 2006. The EA-18G program received LRIP approval in July
2007. The first fleet EA-18G, G- 1, made its first flight on Sept.
26, 2007, and was delivered to Patuxent River in August 2008.
The first Growler was delivered June 3, 2008, to Electronic
Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, the Growler Fleet Replacement
Squadron, at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. IOC and full-rate production (FRP) followed in fall 2009.
In November 2010, VAQ- 132 took the EA-18G on its initial
combat deployment, first to Iraq and then in March 2011 to Libya,
where it provided electronic attack capability to NATO forces in
Operations Odyssey Dawn and Uphold Protector. VAQ- 132 also
deployed to Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, in 2013.
There currently are 12 EA-18G operational squadrons, one
fleet replacement squadron and one Reserve squadron. An additional two operational squadrons (VAQ- 142 and VAQ- 131) are
in the process of transitioning from the EA-6B and another
(VAQ- 134) scheduled for 2015, bringing the projected total to
15 squadrons by 2017. Ten of the 15 operational squadrons are
carrier-based, while four are expeditionary squadrons.
In 2014, the Navy awarded Boeing a contract to develop
intermediate-level (I-Level) maintenance for fleet members
using the AEA system. This effort will not only increase fleet
readiness, but save the Navy more than $1 billion throughout
the life cycle of the aircraft.
The Navy’s current inventory objective for the EA-18G is 138
aircraft. As of November 2014, the Navy has taken delivery of 114
Growlers. In 2013, the Royal Australian Air Force ordered 12 EA-
18Gs. (See the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet entry for characteristics.)
BRIEFING: The EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft will be
retired from Navy service in 2015 when the last squadron, VAQ- 134,
begins transition to the EA-18G Growler. (See the Marine Corps
Aircraft section for characteristics and description of the EA-6B.)
BRIEFING: The all-weather E-2C Hawkeye carrier-based airborne command-and-control aircraft has served as the “eyes” of
the U.S. Navy for 50 years. The E-2C provides simultaneous air
and surface surveillance, strike and intercept control, battle
F-35C LIGHTNING II