Thursday, June 16, 2016

US sends Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft to South China Sea

The United States Navy dispatched four U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft to Clark Air Base, an air force base located on Luzon Island in the Philippines.

Boeing EA-18G Growler aircraft are designed to detect, jam, and destroy enemy radar emissions, as well as disrupt electronic warfare attacks. The EA-18G Growler electronic warfare version is a derivative of the F/A-18F Block II that removes the internal gun, adds electronics within the aircraft to help it detect and jam enemy radars, and mounts four specialized ECM (Electronic CounterMeasures) pods under the wings.
The dispatch of electronic warfare planes makes sense given that the U.S. Navy has repeatedly reported difficulties in collecting data in the past due to Chinese electronic countermeasures. In April 2015, a Global Hawk Long-Range surveillance drone was not able to gather data on Chinese military installations on the Spratly Islands due to Chinese electronic interference.

The contingent at Clark Air Base was made possible by a new U.S.-Philippines defense pact. The 'Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement' (EDCA) provides U.S. military personnel and equipment access to Philippine military bases.

Boeing EA-18G Growler