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EA-18G Growler - Revell (04904) 1:144 scale


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Boeing EA-18G Growler

 

Revell 1:144

 

EA-18G_Growler_01_box-art_resized.jpg

 


A variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world. The Growler replaces the Grumman EA-6B Prowler in the electronic warfare and attack role for the U.S. Navy. The 100th EA-18G Growler was delivered to the U.S. Navy In May 2014.

Source: Boeing


The EA-18G Growler aircraft is a derivative of the F/A-18F Super Hornet with structural changes and the installation of avionics and mission systems, increasing the empty weight by 800kg to 15,000kg and increasing the carrier landing weight by 1,350kg to 21,775kg.
One of the external visual characteristics is the wingtip air-to-air missiles on the F/A-18 Super Hornet are normally replaced by wideband receiver pods on the EA-18 Growler and the other hardpoints carry a mix of electronic warfare pods and weapons.
The aircraft construction includes a light alloy multispar wing and high-strength graphite and epoxy panels and doors. The major contractor Northrop Grumman manufactures the rear and centre fuselage sections and EADS CASA is responsible for the manufacture of structural components such as the fuselage rear side panels, horizontal tail surfaces, flaps, the leading edge extensions, the rudders and the speed brakes.
"The Growler aircraft's first test flight was successfully completed in August 2006."
The aircraft has retractable tricycle-type landing gear. The Menasco main landing gear is single wheeled and turns through 90° to retract rearward into the wheel bays mounted in the engine air ducts. The aircraft has a Messier-Dowty twin-wheel nose gear. The nose of the aircraft is fitted with a catapult launch tow bar. An arrester hook is installed under the rear section of the fuselage.

Delivery of the first two test aircraft to the USN was in September and November 2006. The first production aircraft was delivered to the USN in September 2007.
The first operational aircraft was delivered to NAS Whidbey Island in June 2008 and operational evaluation began in October 2008 onboard the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) aircraft carrier. The SDD programme will conclude with an initial operational capability in late 2009 when the first of ten electronic attack squadrons (VAQ) will begin EA-18G operations. Deliveries of 88 Growler aircraft are planned to conclude in 2013. In service the aircraft will carry out a range of missions including stand-off and escort jamming, surveillance and strike.
Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the US Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G. The Boeing Company is the prime contractor and weapon system integrator and Boeing also leads the EA-18G Growler industry team. Northrop Grumman is the principal subcontractor and airborne electronic attack subsystem integrator.
The EA-18G Growler fleet will be based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

The EA-18G integrates advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman, with the advanced strike capabilities, including advanced weapons, sensors and communications systems, installed on the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.
The block 1 Growler is fitted with up to three AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pods, together with an AN/ALQ-218(V)2 receiver and a Raytheon AN/ALQ-227 communications countermeasures system both of which are mounted in the bay previously designated as the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft's gun bay.
The AN/ALQ-99 jammer fitted on the block 1 Growler is supplied by the EDO Corporation. The AN/ALQ-99 receivers are installed in the tail of the aircraft and the AN/ALQ-99 pod houses the exciters and the high radiated power jamming transmitters.
"The Growler aircraft has 11 weapon stations for carrying electronic mission systems and weapons."
The block 2 Growler is equipped with the APG-79 multi-mode radar with passive detection mode and active radar suppression, ALQ-218(V)2 digital radar warning receiver and ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser.
The advanced tactical radar, the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar provides air-to-air and air-to-ground capability with detection, targeting, tracking and protection modes. The radar is supplied by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems at El Segundo, California.
The interleaved radar modes include real beam-mapping mode and synthetic aperture radar mode with air-to-air search, air-to-air tracking, sea surface search and ground moving target indication and tracking. The radar has an advanced four-channel receiver-exciter which provides wide bandwidth capability and the ability to generate a wide range of waveforms for electronic warfare, air-to-air and air-to-ground operation. It also has the ability to operate in multiple air-to-air and air-to-ground modes simultaneously.
The AN/ALQ-218(V)2, developed by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, is a variant of the Improved Capabilities (ICAP) III system deployed on the US Navy's EA-6B Prowler aircraft. The system's antennas are located on the port and starboard sides of the nose, the engine bays, in the wingtip pods and to the aft of the cockpit, providing 360° azimuthal cover. The passive countermeasures system provides threat detection, identification and location.
The ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser supplied by BAE Systems Electronics and Integrated Systems in Austin, Texas, can be used with US and NATO radar and infrared decoys.

The aircraft is armed with the AIM-120 AMRAAM advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and AGM-88 HARM high-speed anti-radiation missiles. In a surveillance-only configuration the Growler is armed with two AIM-120 air-to-air missiles for self defence; for stand-off jamming and escort jamming missions the Growler is armed with two AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles plus two AIM-120 missiles. In a strike configuration the Growler is armed with two each of AGM-88 HARM missiles, AGM-154 JSOW joint stand-off weapon (block 2 aircraft) and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles. While carrying out active transmitting jamming, the block 2 aircraft has the capability of handing off target data to other airborne, land or surface attack platforms.

Source: Naval-Technology.com

The Kit


The box art, for this standard end opening card box, is simply stunning and possibly one of the most evocative images I've seen on a 1:144 kit box. The view is of "Scorpion 540" of VAQ-132 U.S. Navy, bu no.166894 during operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011.

The main components of the kit are basically a re-release of Revell's single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornet kit No.03997, with additional sprues and clear parts for the second seat position and the EW radars/weapons. Whilst checking the parts list, it would appear that there should be enough parts, including weapons and external tanks etc., to build the F/A-18F twin-seat multi-role fighter variant; which to date I don't believe has been produced by Revell in 1:144 scale - perhaps this may be a precursor to that variant being issued, with the relevant decals, in the near future?

The main fuselage of this kit is split horizontally, with the upper fuselage and nose section being the main components of the first sprue; along with tail fin pieces, engine exhausts, plus main and nose undercarriage assemblies. The nose components, which are for the single seat variant, is of the standard vertical split in that there are two side pieces requiring to be joined before adhering to the main fuselage.

The panel lines are finely recessed and are quite distinct with virtually all the panels, inspection plates and fuel points clearly defined.

04904_EA-18G_Growler_Sprue_1_1_resized.j

 

The second sprue holds the lower main fuselage component, forward air induction ports, tailplane units, tail-hook and the elements required for the forward cockpit. Again, the panel line demarcations are very well done; especially the area of the wheel bays which are fully exposed on the model, allowing detailed painting before installing the undercarriage flaps. The cockpit area consists of the base pan, seat, instrument panel and control stick. Considering that the largest component in this cockpit is only 10mm the detail is really good.
 

 

04904_EA-18G_Growler_Sprue_2_1_resized.j

 


Another standard sprue that is found within both the F/A-18E and the EA-18G kits is the main weapons set. On this sprue there are two AIM-9 air to air missiles, two AIM-120 AMRAAM air to air missiles, two Mk.83 iron bombs and two 480 gallon fuel tanks plus their associated pylons.

04904_EA-18G_Growler_Sprue_3_2_resized.j


The remaining sprues are where we see the changes from the F/A-18E to the EA-18G (and probably the F/A-18F) version. First up is the sprue which holds the pieces to make the two-seat version; primarily for the inclusion of the Weapon Systems Officer. Items include the second cockpit pan, seat, instrument panel and the modified spine section immediately behind the additional office. There are also two AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles with their associated hard-points included on this sprue.


04904_EA-18G_Growler_Sprue_4_1_resized.j

 

 

The next sprue holds the jammer transmitter and receiver units; consisting of two ALQ-99 High Band Jammer Pods, one for each wing, and one ALQ-99 Low Band Jammer Pod which would be situated on the centre-line under the fuselage. There are also two ALQ-218(V)2 wingtip pod receivers.

04904_EA-18G_Growler_Sprue_5_1_resized.j

 


Decals

 

The decal sheet contains a very comprehensive array of at least 68 individual decals, including national and squadron insignia, stencils, individual pilot's names, plus all the specialised markings of 'Scorpion 540' of VAQ-132 U.S. Navy, during operation Odyssey Dawn. whilst based at Aviano Air Base in Italy covering the U.N. enforced no-fly zones over Libya in 2011.
 

 

 

 

 

04904_EA-18G_Growler_Decal_sheet_1_3_res

Instructions

 

Instructions for this kit are of Revell's standard illustrated breakdown and assembly sections and are printed in black and white on A5 sized sheets.

 

04904_EA-18G_Growler_instruction_sheet_1

Conclusion

 

This kit is a nice and accurate looking model for the Boeing EA-18G Growler of the U.S. Navy. It would appear that not only can you build an attractive EA-18G Growler but there are parts to build the F/A-18F twin seat Super Hornet (but not both and no decals for the latter) and that is a real bonus as Revell has not yet produced the F/A-18F in 1:144 scale. If I am right about the F/A-18F version then I shall be getting additional kits just for that.

Revell are renowned for their inclusion of finely detailed weapons fits in their kits and this one is no exception, with both weapons and electronic warfare loads. The kit is almost worth getting just for these ordnance items alone!

Highly recommended

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit

 

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