Tag Archives: EA-18G

Rhino Feed: $1B Gets 784 GE F414 Engines

DOD Contracts posted this the other day:

General Electric, Lynn, Massachusetts, is awarded a not-to-exceed $1,085,106,892 indefinite-delivery, performance-based logistics requirements contract for repair, replacement, and program support of 784 F414 engine components in support of F/A-18 aircraft. This contract includes a five-year base with no options. Work will be performed in various continental U.S. contractor locations that cannot be determined at this time (99%), and in Jacksonville, Florida (1%). Work is expected to be completed by October 2027. Working capital (Navy) funds in the amount of $81,383,017 will initially be issued for delivery order N00383-23-F-0DM0 as an undefinitized contract action at time of award, and funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. Individual delivery orders will be subsequently funded with appropriate fiscal year appropriations at the time of their issuance. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement pursuant to the authority set forth in 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), with one offer received. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00383-23-D-DM01).

The General Electric F414, which had its first run in 1993, is an afterburning turbofan engine in the 22,000-pounds-of-thrust range (in afterburn, “just” 13,000 lbf without) that was developed from the old F412 non-afterburning turbofan planned for the Cold War A-12 Avenger II, the A-6E Intruder replacement that was never ordered.

Some 2,400 pounds (dry weight) it is just under 13 feet long and was planned first to be the engine on the navalized F-117 Nighthawk (that also was never ordered) then twin-packed on the downright chunky F-18 Super Hornet.

For reference, the smaller F-18C/D was powered by two 11,000 lbf thrust F404-GE-402s (which the F412, in turn, was based on!) giving you an idea of just how much more powerful the Rhino engines are. Of course, the maximum take-off weight of the F-18C is around 50,000 lbs while the F-18E runs over 65,000, so the extra thrust is both needed and appreciated.

In all, over 5,600 F404/F414 engines have been built, and a combined 18 million engine flight hours run through them, with the 1,600 F414s delivered since 1999 accounting for about 5 million of those hours. It is expected the influx of new and rebuilt engines will give the Navy/Marines’ 777-aircraft F-18/EA-18 program a stockpile of engines for about the next 25 years– in peacetime op tempos.

Besides the Rhino and Growler, the F414 powers some types that you may not be familiar with:

Here’s some 21st Century warbird nose art for you: A High Value Target EW kill mark

VAQ-137 EA-18G Growler aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

From the Aviationist
The image in this post shows the nose of a VAQ-137 EA-18G Growler aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Interestingly, the aircraft sports a quite unique kill marking, showing a person “hit” by a lightning bolt.

According to our sources, this is the kill mark applied when the Growler is used in an operation during which it jams cell comms or pick up cell comms and that person is targeted.

All the other “standard” lighting bolts are for generic Electronic Attack support: usually, jamming during ops when F/A-18s are dropping ordnance.

But the cell phone one is very specific to targeting a High Value Target or other individual with a cell or cell-jamming over an area. Ordnance is often employed in this context.

Last ride of the Prowler

Two EA-6B Prowlers assigned to the Star Warriors of Tactical Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 209 take-off for their final flight at Naval Air Facility Washington, D.C. VAQ-209 is transitioning from the EA-6B Prowler aircraft to the EFA-18 Growler aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David A. Frech/Released)

Two EA-6B Prowlers assigned to the Star Warriors of Tactical Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 209 take-off for their final flight at Naval Air Facility Washington, D.C. VAQ-209 is transitioning from the EA-6B Prowler aircraft to the EFA-18 Growler aircraft. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David A. Frech/Released)

Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CVWP), hosted a three-day Sunset Celebration commemorating the retirement of the Navy Grumman EA-6B Prowler last week after some 45-years of service.

As noted in the release by the Navy, retired Capt. Fred Wilmot, who served as a test pilot for the Navy Prowler and delivered the first Prowler to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island while serving in Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 in January 1971, was on hand for the sad event.

Some 170 Prowlers were built as an improvement to the EA-6A “Electric Intruder” from lessons learned fighting what was potentially the hottest and most advanced anti-air environment in the world at the time over North Vietnam.  The type replaced the old EKA-3B Skywarrior “Whales” on carrier decks besides picking up the vital SEAD mission.

The radar spoofing/SAM-killing Prowler remained in front line service, even outlasting the USAF’s EF-111 and F-4G Wild Weasel force, to hold the line as the single EW attack plane type in the national inventory.

The event concluded with the last Navy Prowler flying off from NASWI’s  Ault Field, completing the transition to the EA-18G Growler. Ironically, the Growler’s older brother, the F/A-18C, replaced the Prowler’s older brother, the Intruder in 1997.

Vale, Prowler.

150626-N-DC740-049 OAK HARBOR, Wash. (June 26, 2015) An EA-6B Prowler breaks away from three EA-18G Growlers in a missing man formation during a farewell ceremony as part of the Prowler Sunset Celebration commemorating the retirement of the Navy EA-6B Prowler. The celebration, marking the end of an era for the Electronic Attack community, included a history hall in Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Havilland Hangar with a Prowler on display, a farewell ceremony and concluded with the last Navy Prowler flying off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s (NASWI) Ault Field. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Hetherington/Released)

150626-N-DC740-049 OAK HARBOR, Wash. (June 26, 2015) An EA-6B Prowler breaks away from three EA-18G Growlers in a missing man formation during a farewell ceremony as part of the Prowler Sunset Celebration commemorating the retirement of the Navy EA-6B Prowler. The celebration, marking the end of an era for the Electronic Attack community, included a history hall in Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Havilland Hangar with a Prowler on display, a farewell ceremony and concluded with the last Navy Prowler flying off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s (NASWI) Ault Field. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Hetherington/Released)