ST. LOUIS, May 7 (UPI) -- Boeing reports it has delivered its 100th EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft to the U.S. Navy on cost and on schedule.
"Today (Monday) we celebrated 100 Growler deliveries -- all on cost and on schedule -- and highlighted the need for additional Growlers in the future so our men and women in uniform can prosecute their missions in the safest, most effective way possible," said Mike Gibbons, Boeing’s F/A-18 and EA-18G Programs vice president. "We believe there is a compelling case to be made that the Navy needs 50 to 100 more aircraft to meet future requirements."
The Growler is a derivative of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, providing tactical jamming and electronic protection for U.S. forces. Growlers provide a unique capability to nearly all U.S. combat missions and are expected to be in service until at least 2040.
The U.S. Navy has 22 Growlers on its unfunded priorities list for the 2015 fiscal year budget and current orders take Growler and Super Hornet production through the end of 2016. But there is a question as to whether Congress will fund procurement of the aircraft.
Production of the Growler and Super Hornet support 60,000 jobs around the country, Boeing said. Production also involves 800 suppliers in 44 states. And the Navy says the Growler is a needed aerial asset.
"Given the threat environment we are moving into, the Growler will play a major role in identifying, tracking, targeting and potentially firing upon the enemy," Navy Capt. Frank Morley, U.S. Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager, said during the delivery ceremony in St. Louis. "The EA-18G Growler is a high-demand asset that is equally critical in disrupting our enemies’ operations as it is enhancing our own."