June 2015 33 been training at the Whidbey Island base and evaluating the jet, offering suggestions as to how it might perform in their home environment. “It’s a fantastic privilege to share on the platform that the Americans have built,” said an Australian flight lieutenant, also unidentifiable for security reasons. “I think it says a lot about our ability, that they trust us enough. I’m still trying to get my head around what this airplane can do. It’s so capable, so different.” At Whidbey, the Growler is almost always in motion, taking off and landing, continually testing itself and its crews for any eventuality. Pilots conduct six hours of preparation for a regular day maneuver and 12 to 15 hours for a large-scale exercise, all for missions that last at least 90 minutes each. It’s a lot of work. Yet they need to be mobile should there be an international flare-up that demands an immediate presence elsewhere. The EA-18G has become a great protector for America and its allies, energizing the airmen who fly it while giving everyone else a sense of calm, in the face of a changing world. “This country,” Lt. Paul L. said, “is a lot more relaxed with this airplane.” n da niel.w.ral email@example.com Thanks to Stephanie Bass and Robert Papadakis for their help with planning and coordinating this story. To learn more about Boeing’s Growler and Super Hornet, and to encourage Congress to add aircraft to the United States’ fiscal year 2016 budget, employees can visit http://fa-18.com. Employees who choose to participate must do so on their own time and in compliance with company policy. Photo: Exhaust diamonds show as a Growler retracts its landing gear and starts to climb at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island while performing touch-and-go maneuvers.
Frontiers June 2015 Issue
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