The Navy temporarily
grounded its fleet of F/A-18 E/F/ Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers
following what officials call an “on-deck emergency” Friday morning in
A Navy Growler assigned
to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 — the “Scorpions” — was damaged and
both of its aircrew suffered unspecified injuries during the incident
that occurred at the Whidbey Island air station on Puget Sound around 11
a.m. Friday, according to a Navy statement released before dawn on
A Whidbey Island search
and rescue helicopter raced them to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle
for evaluation. Because the advanced Boeing Super Hornets and Growlers
rely on common aircraft systems, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker — commander of
Naval Air Forces on North Island — temporarily suspended flight
operations for both types of jets.
Exceptions, however, will be made “on a case-by-case basis dependent upon operational requirements,” according to the statement.
Boeing engineers and Naval Air Systems Command are probing the cause of the incident.
A two-seat version of
the Super Hornet, the carrier-based Growler is an electronic warfare
aircraft that began replacing Northrop Grumman’s EA-6B Prowlers in 2009.
Flying alongside Super Hornet multirole fighters, it can jam enemy signals, fool radar systems and detect incoming missiles.
The temporary pause on Growler and Super Hornet operations will not affect squadrons in the San Diego area.