Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced 28 March that six U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler aircraft out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state are on their way to Europe and are expected to operate out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. The movement comes as NATO continues to increase its deterrence and defence capabilities along its eastern flank.
The six EA-18G aircraft are operated by Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 134 and specialise in electronic warfare missions to suppress the enemy’s air defence operations. The EA-18G is a variant in the F/A-18 family of aircraft and combines the proven F/A-18F Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite that integrates the latest electronic attack technology, including the ALQ-218 receiver, ALQ-99 tactical jamming pods, ALQ-227 Communication Countermeasures Set, and Joint Tactical Terminal – Receiver (JTT-R) satellite communications.
“This is in order to bolster readiness, enhance NATO’s collective defense posture and further increase air integration capabilities with our allied and partner nations. These Growlers … are equipped for a variety of missions. But they do specialize in flying electronic warfare missions, using a suite of jamming sensors to confuse enemy radars, greatly aiding in the ability to conduct suppression of enemy air defense operations” Kirby said, he also stressed that: “They are not being deployed to be used against Russian forces in Ukraine. They are being deployed completely in keeping with our efforts to bolster NATO’s deterrence and defense capabilities along that eastern flank.”