The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential $125m foreign military sale (FMS) of EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to Australia.
Approved by the US State Department, the sale covers an EA-18G aircraft (Lot 38 or later) from the US Navy stock and associated defence services and equipment.
The services include engineering and modification, verification and validation flight tests, US Government and contractor engineering/technical support, research and analysis support, as well as programmatic, technical and logistics assistance.
The proposed sale package will be used to convert and configure the US Growler into a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18G aircraft.
A specialised electronic warfare variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, Growler aircraft is designed to provide tactical jamming and electronic protection.
DSCA in a statement said that the platform will contribute to Australia’s efforts to ‘maintain its current force projection capability’.
It will also enhance the country’s capability in existing and future coalition efforts and improve interoperability with US forces.
In addition, the sale will support the US’ ‘foreign policy and national security objectives’ and ensure ‘peace and economic stability in the region’.
The aircraft will replace an in-service RAAF EA-18G jet that was lost in an accident in January 2018.
The jet caught fire after an aborted take-off during Exercise Red Flag. The incident occurred at US Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
The Australian Department of Defence classified the damaged aircraft as unrepairable and was withdrawn from service following an investigation.
The cost of the aircraft was believed to be worth $120m.
Australia currently operates 11 EA-18Gs from RAAF Amberley. Built by Boeing, the jet achieved initial operating capability (IOC) in 2019.