$2bn upgrading Growlers.

By: Adam Thorn

Included in the investment is $277 million to upgrade the training ranges flown over by Growler pilots, as well as upgraded sensor and jamming capabilities.

The deal with CEA Technologies will see advanced radar capabilities installed at RAAF Base Amberley and the Delamere Air Training Area.

It will form part of a larger $2 billion program that will also see the aircraft itself upgraded with sensor and jammer upgrades and new longer-range missiles.

The EA-18G Growler is an electronic attack aircraft, designed to jam or destroy military electronic systems – including radars and communications – to curtail enemy operations.

Australia has a fleet of 11 and is the only country outside the US to operate the aircraft, which is effectively a variant of the Super Hornet.

“The government is working closely with defence industry partners, and Australian companies will be involved as much as possible throughout the life of this project,” Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said.

“I’m proud that this project will continue to develop Australia’s own CEA Technologies, a world-leading radar technology company. “We are delivering leading-edge technology the RAAF needs to face an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment.”

It follows Raytheon last year agreeing to a new five-year, $110 million deal to deliver training support services for the RAAF’s Super Hornets and Growlers.

The contract involves upgrading and extending air combat training support at Base Amberley in Queensland through the provision of ground simulator training support.

This is expected to include maintenance and engineering services, as well as aircrew training such as instruction courseware development and force generation tasks.

The work is tipped to employ approximately 49 personnel from Raytheon Australia and local pilot training provider Milskil.

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