Boeing handed over the first of the planes to the Navy on Monday. The company said in a statement Tuesday the aircraft, "dubbed G-1, will join the flight test program at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., before entering fleet service."
"The Growler is expected to complete flight testing in 2008, followed by initial operational capability in 2009," the company said.
"Since the roll-out in August of '06, the first flight, the software, the flight testing, it's all coming on time, which is a tremendous boon in my world," said U.S. Navy procurement chief Rear Adm. Kenneth Floyd, director, Aviation and Aircraft Carrier Plans and Requirements. "We're glad to have it, and once we get it out in the fleet, we're going to be flying this thing in ways that nobody ever thought possible."
Floyd called the Navy's acquisition of its first E-18, a "good day for the Navy, a good day for the nation, and I think the only people that might be having a bad day are the people that end up on the business end of this thing's capacity."
Boeing said that in the EA-18G Growler industry team Northrop Grumman was the principal subcontractor and airborne electronic attack subsystem integrator.
"The Hornet Industry Team divides EA-18G production across Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon manufacturing facilities. Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the U.S. Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G," Boeing said.