mxaxai wrote:Australia ordered both the F-35 and the EA-18 in 2008, after being a partner in the F-35 program since 2002. The EA-18 order was then confirmed again in 2013. First F-35 was delivered in 2018, first EA-18 was delivered in 2017. I'm pretty certain that these aircraft are expected to complement each other, with each having unique capabilities.
If the only thought on Growler was that it is used to support fighter aircraft then that is the conclusion you would draw. The Growler does significantly more than that and the RAAF, and more succinctly the ADF, acquiring the Growler is not about fighter jet support, although the existing RAAF SH and F-35s will certainly benefit from the presence of Growler.
Growler is an incredibly effective counter insurgency weapon and has been, since its introduction in 2011, used extensively across Iraq and Syria not targeting IADS networks but targeting insurgent communications.
The Boeing EA-18G Growler — the electronic warfare version of the F/A 18 Super Hornet multirole fighter — is designed to jam radio and cellphone communications that could be used to coordinate ambushes or other forms of attack. It also can disrupt electronics used to set off improvised explosive devices.
“While we will not comment on specific operational employment of the EA/18G Growler in Iraq and Syria, I can say that the spectrum denial ability of the Growler is a critical part of the fight against [the Islamic State group] through tactical jamming and electronic protection capabilities,” said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, 5th Fleet Spokesman.
https://www.stripes.com/news/navy-s-gro ... e-1.410142
To understand truly how the ADF see the Growler though you need to understand how the system integrates into the ADF doctrinally.
So the question remains how might Growler be useful to Army?
First and foremost, history and our recent experience shows that air superiority is a key enabler for land force manoeuvre and success. The ability of the Growler to deny and disrupt adversary air defence systems, enabling freedom of action for our own airpower is extremely important to Army.
The modern battlespace is becoming increasingly congested, with a commensurate increase in the risk of collateral damage. This is especially true in urban environments, as recent operations in Iraq have demonstrated. The availability of ‘non-kinetic’ attack options is increasingly important for commanders at all levels – from the tactical to the strategic – because the use of kinetic options requires heightened precision and confidence in an adversary’s location. Electronic attack provides a useful non-kinetic option, where the element of precision is only required in the electromagnetic spectrum. This means electronic attack can commence before the necessary precision is available to strike by other means.
Each layer of electronic attack, tactical through operational, must balance power, proximity, and persistence; as these directly relate to effectiveness, signature and survivability. The higher the power, the greater the effect – but also greater is the likelihood you will be found through increased signature. My Air Force friend, Air Commodore Rob Chipman, made this point very well in his address this morning. This feature of electronic attack shares similarities in this regard with kinetic offensive support systems.
If we take this analogy further, and consider the many layers that make up offensive joint fires, it becomes easy to see how the airborne electronic attack capabilities of the Growler could integrate with our concepts of Joint Land Combat. Just as mortars, artillery, naval gunfire, and close air support combine; so to will land based, maritime and air force level EW systems combine to produce desired effects in the battlespace.
The Growler provides a high power, medium proximity and limited persistence effect. In contrast, many land based systems can provide low power, close proximity and a persistent effect. A key for the ADF will be to resolve how we as a Joint Force manage these complementary capabilities to contest and target the EMS in a controlled and effective manner across the spectrum of operations. Whether in a precision strike, supporting a Special Forces mission, amphibious landing or conventional land battle; these systems will need to be orchestrated and synchronized. It is only through this they will achieve the necessary mutually supporting effects to provide a competitive advantage on the battlefield.
But – once again – Growler is, ultimately, just another ‘means’. A fantastic one, and one that I am glad we have. But it is the operationalisation and integration of Growler into our Joint Force that will provide the ultimate capability advantage.
https://www.army.gov.au/our-work/speech ... ations-for
If you consider how far the RAAF has come in the last 15 years you get an idea of how they see the future operational battlespace and where Growler provides support not just to SH and F-35, but to P-8, KC-30, LHD, AWD, G550s, E-7, MQ-4C, MQ-9, Army and SO units etc. The RAAF has transformed over this recent period and the Growler is one of a set of tools that it sees as important for it to dominate the EW battlefield of the future. The ADF now has a force structure that can deploy operationally without having to rely on Allied partners for specific support, such as EW or tanking.
Additionally, the acquisition of Growler is seen by the Australian Government as a key enabler for Coalition operations. It allows the Government to deploy a capability that is operational across the whole spectrum of operations and provides significant non kinetic options for attack. Being able to deploy, support and operate in that context, perhaps without ever having to drop a weapon, is politically immense.
Finally, you also need to understand how the RAAF will use the aircraft to support fighter and strike operations. Did you know the RAAF integrated additional weapons and systems onto the jet not used by the USN? They added the AIM-9X, the ATFLIR and certified additional A2G weapons for carriage and release on the airframe in additional to the AGM-88, something the USN didn’t and wasn’t planning to do.