2012, landing trials revealed the need for a redesigned tail-hook that was tested in 2013-2014. The F-354C made its first
arrested landing on USS Nimitz on Nov. 3, 2014. A second
developmental test at-sea period was conducted in October
2015 onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and a third was conducted onboard USS George Washington in August 2016.
Originally, the U.S. Navy was the only customer for the
F-35C, which is scheduled to reach IOC in fiscal 2018 and will
begin replacing the F/A-18A+/C /C+ Hornet onboard its carriers. In 2012, the Navy’s F- 35 replacement squadron, VFA- 101,
was established at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and on Oct. 1,
2013, rolled out the fleet’s first F-35Cs. Another fleet replacement squadron, VFA- 125, is being activated in January 2017.
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. The Navy and Marine Corps plan to procure 260 and 63 F-35Cs, respectively.
As of October 2016, 20 F-35Cs had been delivered to the
Navy in addition to five F-35C System Development and
Demonstration aircraft. An additional 15 F-35Cs were on order
through low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 10, including the
first F-35C for the Marine Corps. (See the Marine Corps Aircraft
section for characteristics and description of the F-35B.)
Data applies to F-35C
LENGTH: ................ 51.5feet
WEIGHT: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; empty,; 34,800;pounds
MAX WEIGHT: . . . . . . . . . . . ; takeoff,; 70,000;pounds
SPEED: ..................Mach 1.0
RANGE:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ; 1,400;nautical;miles;unrefueled;;radius,;615
POWER PLAN T: . . . . . . . . . . ; 1;Pratt;&; Whitney;F- 135;turbofan;engine
ARMAMEN T:. . . . . . . . . . . . . ; laser-guided;bombs,;JDAMs,;cluster;munitions,;
CREW: ..................; 1;pilot;
CONTRACTORS: . . . . . . . . . ; Lockheed;Martin;Corp.,;Pratt;&;Whitney,;Northrop;
BRIEFING: The EA-18G Growler is a variant of the Block
II F/A-18F Super Hornet and 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 tactical versatility, advancements and capabilities of the Block II Super Hornet.
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 is being replaced by the Joint
Tactical Terminal-Receiver (JTT-R). The JTT-R is in production, with more than 35 units delivered to the fleet in 2015.
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 on 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 EA-18G, G- 1, made its first flight on Sept.
26, 2007, and was delivered to Patuxent River in August 2008.
The first fleet 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 14 EA-18G operational squadrons and
one Reserve squadron. Nine of the 15 active-duty squadrons
are carrier-based, while four are expeditionary squadrons.
In 2014, the Navy awarded Boeing a contract to develop
intermediate-level (I-Level) AEA system maintenance. This
effort not only will 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
160 aircraft. As of October 2016, the Navy has taken delivery of
126 Growlers. In 2013, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
ordered 12 EA-18Gs. In October 2015, the first RAAF Growler
was delivered to the Advanced Weapon Laboratory in China
Lake, Calif., to begin testing. (See the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
entry for characteristics.)
F-35C LIGHTNING IIs