Australia is to purchase long-lead electronic equipment for the potential conversion of 12 of the country's 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets to the EA-18G Growler electronic attack variant, Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced on 29 March.
Should the conversion proceed, Australia will be the only country in the world other than the United States to operate the type.
Smith said in a press release that the long-lead equipment, costing AUD19 million (USD18 million), included electronic systems, antennas and high frequency modulation receivers and was being requested through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channel. A final decision on whether to proceed with the conversion will be made later in 2012.
Smith said the decision to purchase the equipment had been made to ensure Australia continued to have access to Growler technology. This is likely to refer to the need to participate with the US Navy in its final order for ALQ-218 wingtip high-band electronic receiver pods.