EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 20, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun assembling the first production center and aft fuselage for the U.S. Navy's EA-18G Growler, the service's next-generation electronic attack aircraft due to begin replacing the venerable EA-6B Prowler by the end of the decade.
Mechanics began the assembly process June 13 by loading the first bulkhead components into place on the company's F/A-18 Super Hornet production line in El Segundo, where a major portion of the EA-18G is built.
Northrop Grumman is principal subcontractor to The Boeing Company for the EA-18G, a derivative of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet that Boeing and Northrop Grumman also produce for the Navy. The Super Hornet is the Navy's frontline carrier-based strike fighter.
This first production EA-18G center and aft fuselage shipset is expected to be delivered to Boeing in April 2007. Northrop Grumman has previously delivered shipsets for two flight test EA-18G aircraft. First flight of the test aircraft is scheduled for the late summer of 2006.
Like the Northrop Grumman-built Prowler it will replace, the EA-18G will perform surveillance and electronic jamming of enemy threat radars and communications nets. Its electronic attack suite is based on the advanced Improved Capability (ICAP) III system developed by Northrop Grumman for the Prowler. The EA-18G's effectiveness will be enhanced by the advanced sensors and weaponry capabilities of the F/A-18E/F aircraft.
ICAP III uses a technology called selective-reactive jamming to make it more effective than jammers currently in service. Current Prowlers jam radars by transmitting electronic signals over broad frequency bands to "blind" adversary radars operating within each band. By contrast, the EA-18G will use sophisticated receivers and software to rapidly locate enemy radars and focus its jamming energy on the threat. This advanced capability is particularly effective against complex, modern radar threats.
Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector produces and integrates the center/aft fuselage and all associated subsystems for the F/A-18 and EA-18G. Each fuselage shipset is delivered from El Segundo to Boeing's production facility in St. Louis, Mo. Northrop Grumman is also the airborne electronic attack system integrator for the EA-18G and performs this work in Bethpage, N.Y., under a separate contract with Boeing.
Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the EA-18G Growler industry team. The Hornet industry team will divide EA-18G production across Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon manufacturing facilities. The system design and development program concludes with an initial operational capability (IOC) in 2009. Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G.
The EA-18G will begin replacing the Prowler gradually after IOC. The Navy's current plan is to buy 90 EA-18Gs. The Prowler is expected to remain in service until 2015.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 125,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
CONTACT: Jim Hart Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-3616 firstname.lastname@example.org