Boeing to present the EA-18G Growler in Finland
Boeing and the U.S. Navy will showcase the EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft in Finland. The jets will be on static and flying display during the Finnish Air Force 100th anniversary air show, on June 16-17, 2018, at Tikkakoski Airport (JYV) in Finland.
The two EA-18G Growlers appearing at the show are part of the Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAQ-129), based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), in the state of Washington, U.S.
A variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, the Growler provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world. The Growler was designed to help aircrews reach their target without being detected. It replaced the Vietnam-era Grumman EA-6B Prowler (based on the airframe of the A-6 Intruder) within the U.S. Navy fleet.
Electronic Warfare has been a concerning topic for the U.S. Army in recent years. On April 24, 2018, General Raymond Thomas, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, reported during the GEOINT Symposium that EC-130s and small U.S. drones were regularly jammed and disabled above the Syrian airspace. “Right now in Syria we are operating in the most aggressive EW (Electronic Warfare) environment on the planet from our adversaries. They are testing us every day,” he commented.
The showcasing will display the capacity of the Super Hornet airframe in this specific variant. It comes at a time when Boeing offered Finland the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in the tender organized for the HX fighter program, in which the Finnish Air Force is expecting to replace its aging F-18 Hornet fleet with new multi-role fighters.
On August 28, 2017, President of the United States Donald Trump confused the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö when stated, during a press conference, that Finland was about to buy “a large number” of Super Hornets from Boeing. Niinistö denied the information to the Finnish press the next day, as the HX program had just begun and was still awaiting for offers from manufacturers.
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