Few days ago Boeing completed an initial test flight of a new variant of the Super Hornet: the EA-18.
It is based on the two seats F/A-18F and it is intended as a replacement for the ageing joint USN/USAF operated EA-6B Prowlers. It will use the same ALQ-99 jamming pods of the Prowler, typically carrying 3 plus 2 external tanks, 2 AGM-88 HARMs and 2 to 4 AIM-9/120 AAMs. See Boeing website for details and pictures.
It should be one of the best solutions to finally have a good EW platform considering that the EA-6Bs have been in service since the late 60's or early 70's.
I still don't know if the EA-18 will have the same capabilities as the Prowler also considering that it lacks the four men cockpit and the Rugby-ball shaped radome on the fin tip, which houses the receiving antennas of its complex EW system.
At least the performances of the Super Hornet will be better than the EA-6B in terms of acceleration and top speed.
What are your thoughts?
Do you think the USNavy should go with a further upgrade of the Prowler maybe building new frames or should they develop a completely new aircraft?