Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power
HA5154 Boeing EA-18G Growler 166856, VX-9 "Vampires", US Navy, 2008
In order to replace their aging EA-6B Prowlers the USN acquired a specialized version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler. The Growler is an advanced airborne electronic attack aircraft capable of tactical jamming and electronic protection. The first EA-18G Growler flight took place in August 2006 with the first USN production aircraft being delivered to VAQ129 in June 2008. After operational capability testing full production of the EA-18G Growler began in late 2009. In 2010 VAQ-132, 138 and 141 were re-equipped with the Growler.
In 2006 the second built EA-18G 166856 made its first flight and then was delivered to China Lake wearing a basic grey paint with the markings NJ VAQ-129 numbered 552. Not long after, the aircraft was transferred to VX-9 Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine, (AIRTEVRON NINE) more commonly known as "Vampires" and in August 2008 was given a new paint scheme and wearing XE-572. On November 17, 2008 the air craft had an engine fire and landed safely.