Upgrade package with US Navy providing funding for SFR phase by late 2019
During its Pre-Paris Air Show Media Tour in St. Louis, MO/USA, Boeing told MONCh the E/A-18G GROWLER is getting an upgrade package with the US Navy providing funding to get to the system functional requirements phase (SFR) by late 2019.
Just like the F-18s being upgraded to Block III (story here), GROWLERs will receive low drag conformal fuel tanks, new advanced glass cockpit systems, sensor enhancements (Collins Aerospace‘s Tactical Targeting Network Technology – TTNT datalink), adaptiive and distributive information and crew interface vehicle improvements.
As the GROWLER is US Department of Defense’s, “only electronic attack vehicle,” according to Boeing, the aircraft will receive a suite refresh.
One improvement of the GROWLER ’s electronic attack sensors contains enhancements to Northrop Grumman’s AN/ALQ-218 Radar Warning Receiver / Electronic Support Measures / Electronic Intelligence (RWR/ESM/ELINT) sensor system. The system provides airborne situational awareness and signals intelligence (SIGINT) by detecting, identifying, locating, and analysing sources of radio frequency (RF) emissions. By adding adaptive and distributed processing aircraft computers can react quicker and get information out faster. Faster and more information processing will need improved interfaces to minimise the crew’s workload, which is being considered as well through a flexible and adaptable hardware architecture.
Boeing executives also stated that they are doing a lot of work on manned-unmanned teaming (MuM-T) with the GROWLER as the datalink architecture translates well into MUM-T.