What's that noise? It's a Growler

The aircraft that will replace the Prowler has been official named the “Growler.”

The EA-18G, the Navy’s next generation electronic aircraft, has informally been referred to as the Growler for some time, but the Navy made it official last week.

The name seems to be a composite of the Growler’s electronic attack predecessor, the EA-6B popularly known as the Prowler, and the “G” designation in EA-18G, a Navy press release states.

“There’s a lot to be said for name recognition,” said Capt. Tom Tack, Deputy Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He’s based on Whidbey Island. “In this case nicknaming the EA-18G the ‘Growler’ is more than just a clever play on words. It’s a logical way to show the community and Congress that the Navy’s electronic attack mission and the newest ICAP III weapons system is transitioning from one aircraft platform, the EA-6B Prowler, to a new aircraft platform, the EA-18G, with its increased war fighting capabilities and improved reliability.”

Growlers will fly over Whidbey someday, though no specific date has been set for the plane’s arrival in Oak Harbor. The Navy plans to begin the transition of its 10 Whidbey-based squadrons in 2008 and have it completed in 2013.

Plans call for replacing 68 Prowlers with 57 Growlers.

The Growler is a variant of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The Growler’s mission will be the same Prowler’s: blocking enemy radar and dropping HARM missiles.

“We are also proud of the name because it continues the legacy of the Prowler and a great tradition of Growlers in Navy history,” Capt. Steven Kochman, EA-18G program co-lead at Patuxent River, said in a press release. “At the same time it looks forward, saying we bring more tooth to the fight.”

The EA-18G marks the fifth time the Growler name has been put into service for the Navy.

According to a Navy press release, two wooden sloops serving during the War of 1812 were named Growler. The first submarine called Growler, SS-215, was commissioned March 20, 1942 and served until its sinking during a battle with the Japanese Nov. 8, 1944. A fourth Growler, the submarine SSG-577, was commissioned Aug. 30, 1958 and carried nuclear missiles. It was decommissioned May 25, 1964, in favor of Polaris submarines.

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