The US has sent a squadron of six EA-18G electronic warfare fighters to Germany in order to improve deterrence and defence along NATO’s eastern flank.
On March 28, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated that the EA-18G Growler squadron and 240 US Navy service members sent to Germany “will not be intended to counter Russian forces in the region.” They’ve been deployed in support of NATO’s efforts to strengthen deterrence and defence capabilities on the alliance’s eastern flank, he said. After departing from a naval air base in Washington state, the EA-18G electronic warfare fighters are expected to arrive at the Spangdahlem military airport in Germany.
The move was made as the war between Russia and Ukraine continued unabated. The White House proposed spending $6.9 billion in the budget proposal released on March 28 to assist Ukraine in dealing with Russian forces as well as to support NATO members. Following the outbreak of hostilities, the United States increased aid to Ukraine, including security and humanitarian assistance. President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged NATO members to send Ukraine more weapons, including advanced fighters, missile defence systems, tanks, armour, and anti-ship missiles. The United States, on the other hand, has ruled out sending aircraft or other major weapons systems to Ukraine. President Joe Biden stated that he did not want to cross the line into World War III, which would pit Russia against NATO.
During the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, NATO has recently deployed additional forces to the alliance’s eastern flank. NATO members began transferring Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Slovakia, a Ukraine neighbour, on March 20 in order to strengthen their defence capabilities. The EA 18G is a one-of-a-kind fighter in the world today, with powerful electronic warfare capabilities and top-notch combat capabilities as a multirole fighter. The EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft is based on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter platform and is equipped with a number of modern sensors and jamming combinations to assist in detecting and neutralising enemy air defence systems.
Only a few active EA-18Gs are capable of disabling the enemy’s entire electronic system, including the phone, before launching missiles to destroy the target. This is the type of weapon that Russia and China both want. Australia is currently the second country to own this top-tier fighter line, after the United States. The Boeing EA-18G Growler is the US Navy’s primary electronic warfare aircraft. Aside from electronic attack, it retains top-tier combat capabilities, so the military classifies them as extremely dangerous “two-in-one” aircraft of the United States.The EA-18G’s electronic warfare capabilities are very strong and diverse, allowing it to destroy enemy radar stations as well as destroy these stations with the missile installed on this aircraft.
The two-seat EA-18G Growler evolved from the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The plane went into production in 2007 and was delivered to squadrons in 2009. The EA-18G replaces the old EA-6B Prowlers of the US Navy. The EA-18G shares more than 90% of the design of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, sharing the same airframe, AESA radar and weapons systems as the AN/AYK-22 inventory management system. The ALQ-218 receiver is mounted on the wing tips, and the ALQ-99 is a jammer in the high and low frequencies. The 20 mm Vulcan cannon has been removed from the nose to make room for avionics.
The EA-18 G’s range and time in the air have been extended due to the addition of jammers and extra fuel tanks. Five ALQ-99 tactical jammers can be installed on the EA-18G electronic warfare aircraft. The INCANS jamming system is used by the EA-18G to allow internal voice communications while enemy communications are jammed. The EA-18Gs have two AGM-88 HARM missiles or AGM-88E AARGM missiles to destroy enemy radar stations and two AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles for self-defense.
The EA-18G has a length of 18.3 metres, a height of 4.8 metres, and a wingspan of 13.6 metres. The empty payload weighs 15,011 kilogrammes, and the maximum take-off weight is 29,964 kilogrammes. The EA-18G Growler has two GE-F414 engines with a thrust of 98 kN (when burned for the second time), allowing it to reach a top speed of Mach 1.8, a range of 3,330 km, and a ceiling of 15,000 metres. It can support equipment and drones, jam enemy communications and radar on the ground, and launch anti-radar missiles directly at targets.
Furthermore, the aircraft can jam and disrupt tracking vehicles, as well as ground-based air defence systems, and provide early warning of enemy ships and fighters. In addition, the EA-18G can perform “Non-Traditional Electronic Attack,” which means it can work with ground air defence in special missions. The EA-18G has an APG-79 multi-mode AESA radar and a Helmet Mounted Cueing control system to guide air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, despite being an electronic warfare aircraft. The EA-18G is the world’s most powerful and unique electronic warfare aircraft, with a long list of impressive capabilities.