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Navy Monitoring Results of Australian EA-18G Growler Fire Investigation

RAAF’s first Growler during a July 29, 2015 ceremony in Boeing’s plant in St. Louis, Mo. USNI News Photo

The U.S. Navy is monitoring an incident involving a Royal Australian Air Force EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft that caught fire during the Red Flag multi-national exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada over the weekend.

According to news reports and a U.S. Air Force statement, the Growler experienced an engine failure during take-off and skidded off the runway, reportedly being engulfed in flames. Local television stations broadcast footage of the blackened aircraft sitting off the runway. The pilot was able to eject from the aircraft, and no injuries were reported.

The Royal Australian Air Force has 12 EA-18G Growlers, based at RAAF Base Amberley. The Australians plan to achieve Initial Operational Capability for their Growlers this year, according to a RAAF fact sheet.

“The U.S. Navy is watching the Red Flag incident with interest,” Cmdr. Ron Flanders, public affairs officer for the Commander of Naval Air Forces told USNI News. “Our Growler operations continue. When the Australians complete their investigation, we’ll take a look at the findings and assess if any actions are necessary.”

Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air, space and cyber forces of the United States and its allies, according to an Air Force statement. The exercise is hosted north of Las Vegas at the Nevada Test and Training Range, the U.S. Air Force’s premier military training area with more than 15,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land.

  • Steve Fortson

    They actually didn’t eject. They egressed after the aircraft stopped just beside the runway.

  • kye154

    Well, what can you say? If you are hot, you are hot!

  • scottled

    Tie me kangaroo down, Sport….

  • Sir Bateman

    Hopefully it was insured.

  • muzzleloader

    The report said that the pilot (singular) exited the aircraft. The Growler has a 2 man crew.

    • Guest

      News reports don’t need to be accurate. They just have to be first on the street. As a former presidential candidate said: “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”

  • D. Jones

    There’s a reason Brits don’t call aircraft “growlers”

  • Spencer Webb

    I was disappointed at Boeing balking at the idea of building a new version of the FA-18 or CF-18 for the Canadian Armed Forces. Boeing was allowed to absorb McDonnell Douglas largely because no one else wanted it at the time, although it gave Boeing a monopoly on airliners over 100,000 pound MTOW in the Western Hemisphere, and the United States, where we have an Anti-Trust Law. I think Boeing should think about a twin-engine alternative to the F-35 for allies who would be interested in such a aircraft. Australia and Canada have vast territories to defend with very small air forces. I believe in competition as the way to improvement. Both the FA-18 and F-16 originated as private venture competitors to Government preferences, the F-14 and F-15. To remain competitive, and retain competitiveness, we need alternatives. We can export more military aircraft if the defense ministers of the world can face their parliaments with cost effective alternative, or more reasonable prices. I think it is silly for Boeing to complain about what little subsidiary Bombardier may be getting from the Canadian Government. It is more silly for Boeing to give the Canadian Government reason to give Bombardier a great deal more. There was once upon a time when Canada did build their own fighter planes, and they designed at least one.

    • D. Jones

      Canada was too cheap to buy F15’s, which would have been their best choice (actually detuned F22’s, but they were of course not available to allies, then anyone)

      Surprised Trudeau didn’t demand more climate-friendly aircraft. Maybe LM can build a fighter-glider F-35. Maybe helium-filled composite LCS zeppelins to serve as tethered early-warning dirigibles…

    • John Newman

      Spencer Webb – Do you really think that Boeing (or any other airframe manufacturer) is going to spend Billions of their own dollars developing a new combat aircraft (single or twin engine), without a commitment or requirement from someone to also share the development costs?? Don’t think so.
      Let’s not forget that when the US started the JSF Program, Boeing put up the X-32 against the X-35 and lost. There is no point for any manufacturer to develop an alternative, especially if the option for that alternative is never going to be chosen, and even if one or two nations do choose it, the unit cost per airframe will be very high to say the least, not going to happen.
      You mentioned Australia and Canada, can’t speak for what’s happening in Canada, but here in Australia the Government and RAAF appear to be more than happy with the direction the RAAF is heading.
      Yes we both have ‘vast’ territories to defend, as you suggest, but equally here in Australia we are also a ‘vast’ distance from anyone (with the capability) who wishes to threaten us, and the RAAF is more than well equipped to defend the coastline too.
      Apart from the air bases spread across the north of the continent, the RAAF has a very modern, and growing fleet of aircraft to do the job, a growing fleet of long range tankers, KC-30A, the introduction of F-35A, P-8A, Triton, the current E-7A, F/A-18F, EA-18G, etc.
      Yes Australia doesn’t have the largest air force in the world/region, but it has one of the most modern and capable ones too, anyone who tries will end up with a bloody nose.
      Cheers,
      John N

      • Spencer Webb

        WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2018

        THE F-18 IS STILL IN PRODUCTION. THE F-15 AND F-22 ARE NOT. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CURRENT EVENTS, NOT AIRCRAFT THAT HAVE NOT BEEN A VAILABLE SINCE 1990. IF IGNORANCE AND SARCASM IS ALL YOU GUYS HAVE TO OFFER, YOU NEED TO STUDY UP ON CURRENT EVENTS.

        SINCERELY YOURS,
        SPENCER E. WEBB