MILITARY MOVES: An F/A-18F Super Hornet performs a flying display.
MILITARY MOVES: An F/A-18F Super Hornet performs a flying display. CPL Glen Mccarthy

Twelve Growlers join fleet of Super Hornets

RAAF Base Amberley will remain the home of Australia's most advanced military aircraft with 12 new Growlers set to join the base's existing 24 Super Hornets.

The RAAF base will also be upgraded before the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighters, according to the Federal Government's defence white paper released yesterday.

Amberley will bare Australia's entire contingent of 24 Super Hornets, after the government decided against plans to convert 12 of them into electronic warfare optimised Growlers.

Instead the RAAF will "retain the current 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets in their current air combat and strike capability configuration" and purchase new EA-18G Growlers for electronic warfare.

Growlers are altered Super Hornets with the ability to engage in electronic warfare including the ability to disrupt enemy communications and radar.

According to a defence document the Growlers will be based out of RAAF base Amberley alongside the existing fleet of Super Hornets.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said he hadn't formally been told the new planes would be based out of Amberley but expected they would.

"That's where the facilities, the mechanics and the squadrons for Super Hornets already are," he said.

"These are based on the Super Hornet model.

"I warmly welcome the acquisition of the Growlers and the electronic warfare capabilities they bring; we're the only country other than America to have them."

The Growlers have been acquired as a stop gap before the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighters which have were delayed by the United States last year.

The Growlers will "together with the Joint Strike Fighter and the Super Hornet, will form a formidable air combat force", according to the white paper.

The paper also said the government would consider upgrading them with more Joint Strike Fighters closer to their retirement date of 2030.

Amberley will be one of a number of RAAF bases to "support Joint Strike Fighter operations".

Upgrades at Amberley

  • RAAF base Amberley is currently home to Australia's fleet of 24 Super Hornets.
  • According to the white paper these will be joined by 12 new Growlers and eventually Joint Strike Fighters.