NOTE: 12 aircraft have been ordered with the first expected to roll out in
mid-2015. The first aircraft will conduct a 12-month flight test campaign
with the U.S. Navy in order to meet Australian airworthiness requirements.
The first five Australian Growler aircrew began training in 2014 with VAQ-129
& graduated from the course on February 27, 2015.
The five aircrew will be assigned to U.S. Navy expeditionary units for
approximately two years, deploying & operating the EA-18G under the
Personnel Exchange Program. It is expected that six full crews will have
been trained by 2016.
group of Growlers is expected to be ferried to Amberley Air Base near
Brisbane, Queensland in early 2017 & will be followed about six months
later by the balance of the fleet. The aircraft will be operated by 6 Sqn
– the former General Dynamics F-111C & F/A-18F operational conversion
unit. In order to accommodate the Growlers, the unit will relinquish its
training role & Super Hornets to the air force's 1 Sqn. Further Australian
Super Hornet conversion training will be undertaken with US Navy training
units at NAS Oceana, Virginia from 2015.
Australia is scheduled to declare
initial operational capability with the EA-18G in mid-2018, with full
operational status slated for the early 2020s.