VAQ 132 Growlers Complete Exercise with Royal Australian Air Force

By Growler 12 Public Affairs

AMBERLEY, Australia – The “Scorpions” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 wrapped up exercise ‘Growler 12’ at Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley, Australia, 19 Oct.

Growler 12 was a bilateral exercise between the U.S. Navy and the RAAF focusing on Airborne Electronic Attack joint training, real-world proficiency, employment and integration while promoting bilateral military relationships.

VAQ 132’s EA-18G Growler aircraft crews primarily working alongside RAAF F/A 18F Super Hornets, but also operated with the RAAF Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and RAAF airborne tankers.

The exercise provided a chance for the two countries to practice the integration of the Growler, which is based on the Super Hornet airframe, into various mission types.  It allowed both forces to get experience operating with one another and learn about one another’s capabilities and tactics.

“When the Super Hornet aircrew were planning their missions they would look at what capabilities the Growler had with the airborne electronic attack systems that would enable the Growlers to open doors for the Super Hornet to reduce its threats so they could safely and effectively carry out its mission.” stated Australian Group Captain Geoff Harland, Officer Commanding Number 82 Wing.

The exercise emphasized the Electronic Attack capabilities the Growler brings to any operation, enhancing the capability and survivability of forces it is operating with.

Cmdr. Dave Kurtz, Commanding Officer of VAQ-132 said, “The objective of the EA-18G Growler is to degrade, deceive and deny the threat system they are going against.  This will allow the Growler to put the enemy on the back foot in the hope that it will make bad decisions or simply not be able to make decisions at all because they don’t have enough information and therefore unable to carry out its mission.”

During the exercise, VAQ 132 held a change of command ceremony, with Kurtz relieving Cmdr. Jay Matzko as commanding officer.  The keynote speaker for the event, Capt. John Springett, commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, which VAQ 132 is assigned to, spoke to the U.S. and Australian audience about the reason why exercises like Growler 12 are important.

Springett said, “We are honored to be allies, and I truly believe that the strong relationship between our two countries contributes to the peace, security and stability of the region.”

The exercise provided an opportunity for the aviators from both countries to fly alongside one another as well as share knowledge on the ground.

“I, and everyone I have talked to has had nothing but the highest praise for the Australians that we have had the opportunity to work with,” said Lt. Benjamin Cox, a VAQ 132 pilot. “The aircrews are highly competent, highly professional and I’ve got nothing but high praise for them.”

VAQ 132 is based in Oak Harbor, Wash., and is currently on a six month deployment to Misawa Japan.

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