Could the USAF Buy Growlers?


According to Aviation Week, they just might...F-18G.jpg

Industry and Pentagon sources say USAF has made little headway on its lingering electronic attack requirements. The service had been pursuing a standoff jammer based on the venerable, and powerful, B-52. But the program cost crept upward around $7 billion, too much in the Pentagons tight budget environment. Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, USAFs military deputy for acquisition, acknowledges that some in the Pentagon are pushing the Air Force to buy Growlers designed for Navy requirements. He counters, however, that an EA-18G would not be survivable in the penetrating role as the Air Force transitions from F-15s and F-16s to an all-stealth combat fleet. USAF officials dont like to talk much about it publicly, but they are looking for a jammer that can escort the high-end stealthy fighters if necessary in the future. The Marine Corps, by contrast, is looking ahead to an electronic attack version of the F-35B, which wont be available when existing Navy Prowlers retire in 2012. Hoffman says there is a natural progression to the Joint Strike Fighter as a jammer, but USAF still wants something in the near term.

I really like this idea. The Super Hornet is marginal as a fighter/bomber but it's rugged airframe and load capacity may prove a formidable replacement for the Prowler. And who needs stealth in an EA aircraft? Isn't EA the opposite of stealth? Banging trons til you get through...

(Gouge: NC)

-- Christian

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