Truman Traps its first Growlers

Story Number: NNS090812-03Release Date: 8/12/2009 5:36:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Specialist 3rd Class (SW) David Giorda, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- EA-18G Growlers from Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ)129 and VAQ 132 landed on board the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for the first time Aug. 5.

"It's great. We've done a lot of training to get us out here on Truman. I was fortunate to be the one to come down first," said Cmdr. Jeff Craig, VAQ 132 executive officer.

The new Growler was designed to replace the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. The Growler is the next generation of electronic attack aircraft. It can go faster and use less fuel than the Prowler.

Aircrews from VAQ 132 are flying with instructor pilots from VAQ 129 for their carrier qualifications on board Truman.

The conversion from Prowlers to Growlers required months of training. Some benefits of the transition include streamlined maintenance on the Growler and improved weapons configurations.

The Navy is constantly looking to improve its mission readiness with new technology and advancements. The squadrons have already found many benefits with the new Growler.

"It's substantially less [maintenance] man hours than the Prowler," said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW) Aaron Dickerson, a member of VAQ 129.
"The Growler takes about thirty maintenance hours per flight hour where the Prowler is around sixty to seventy maintenance hours per flight hour. So the Growler is easier on maintenance personnel."

The Growler takes a lot of training behind the stick to fly. The training is not just for the pilots but also for the maintenance personnel who have to learn a new plane and maintain it properly to keep the plane in the air flying missions.

The Growler is the next step in streamlining the air wing. Most of the parts of the Growler can be interchanged with the FA/18E and FA/18F Super Hornet.

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