Hobby Master HA5150 US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler Electronic Warfare Aircraft - 168893 VAQ-141 "Shadowhawks", USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), Atsugi Air Base, Japan, 2017 (1:72 Scale)
"Ready on Arrival"
- Motto of VAQ-141 "Shadowhawks"
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G replaced the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler's electronic warfare capability is primarily provided by Northrop Grumman. The EA-18G began production in 2007 and entered operational service with the US Navy in late 2009. Australia has also purchased twelve EA-18Gs, which entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 2017.
On November 15th, 2001, Boeing successfully completed an initial flight demonstration of F/A-18F "F-1" fitted with the ALQ-99 electronic warfare system to serve as the EA-18 Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) concept aircraft. In December 2003, the US Navy awarded a development contract for the EA-18G to Boeing. As primary contractor, Boeing was to construct the forward fuselage, wings and perform the final assembly. Northrop Grumman was the principal airframe subcontractor and they would supply the center and aft fuselage as well as the principal electronic combat system. In 2003, the Navy expected to receive 90 EA-18Gs.
The first EA-18G test aircraft entered production on October 22nd, 2004. The first test aircraft, known as EA-1, was rolled out on August 3rd, 2006, before making its maiden flight at St. Louis on August 15th, 2006; it was later ferried to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland on 22 September 2006. EA-1 primarily supports ground testing in the Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF) anechoic chamber.
The second aircraft (EA-2) first flew on November 10th, 2006, and was delivered to NAS Patuxent River on November 29th, 2006. EA-2 is an AEA flight test aircraft, initially flying on Pax River's Atlantic Test Range (ATR) for developmental test of the AEA system before transitioning to the Electronic Combat Range (ECR, or 'Echo Range') in Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California. Both aircraft are assigned to VX-23 "Salty Dogs". EA-1 and EA-2 are F/A-18Fs F-134 and F-135, pulled from the St. Louis production line and modified by Boeing to the EA-18G configuration. However, since they were not built initially as Growlers, the Navy has designated these two test aircraft as NEA-18Gs. There were five Growlers flying in the flight test program as of June 2008
Pictured here is a gorgeous 1:72 scale diecast replica of a US Navy Boeing E/A-18G Growler Electronic Warfare Aircraft that was attached to VAQ-141 "Shadowhawks", then embarked upon the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), moored at Atsugi Air Base, Japan, during 2017.
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Historical Account: "Shadowhawks" - Electronic Attack Squadron 141 (VAQ-141), also known as the "Shadowhawks", is an EA-18G Growler squadron of the United States Navy that is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, located in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan. VAQ-141 falls under the cognizance of Commander, Electronic Attack Wing Pacific (COMVAQWINGPAC) and flies in support of Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5) aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).
In February 2012, the Navy announced that VAQ-141 would be transferred to NAF Atsugi in the spring of 2012 to join Carrier Air Wing 5 and USS George Washington/Carrier Strike Group Five replacing VAQ-136.
In November 2013, USS George Washington in coordination with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade assisted the Philippine government in relief efforts in response to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Republic of the Philippines.
In 2015 Carrier Air Wing Five cross-decked to USS Ronald Reagan, which replaced the George Washington as the forward-deployed carrier home-ported in Yokosuka. When the carrier is in port the squadron is based nearby at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture. It relocated to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni at Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan on November 28 after the conclusion of USS Ronald Reagan's fall patrol of 2017