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EA-18G Update

A 22 October 2004 ceremony at the Boeing Company's St. Louis, Mo., facility marked the startup of the production line for the EA-18G, the replacement for the EA-6B Prowler. EA-1 is the first of two test aircraft to be produced under a system development and demonstration contract. Assembly of EA-2 is expected to begin before the end of 2005. Test flights should commence in September 2006, and initial operational capability for the EA-18G is scheduled for 2009.

For the Record

The Multimission Maritime Aircraft program completed a system requirements review on 30 September 2004, allowing the program to continue the systems development and demonstration phase.

The AIM-54 Phoenix long-range guided air-to-air missile retired after 30 years of service.

The RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle made its first flight in October 2004 in California. This is the first of two Global Hawks slated for a Navy demonstration program to develop maritime UAV tactics and operating procedures.

Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, was deactivated on 1 October 2004. The wing's remaining F-14 squadrons now report to Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

The EP-3E Aries II Sensor System Improvement Program (SSIP) upgrade completed operational test and evaluation, and was found to be operationally effective and suitable. Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons 1 and 2 fly twelve SSIP aircraft, and five P-3C airframes are undergoing conversion to become EP-3Es.

The Navy's newest San Antonio-class amphibious ship, New Orleans, was christened on 20 November 2004.

Strike Fighter Squadron 34, operating from John F. Kennedy (CV 67), dropped the Navy's first two GBU-38 500-pound joint direct attack munitions during combat operations in Iraq on 20 October 2004.

Fleet installation of a mission computer replacement for E-2C Group II aircraft began in fall 2004 and is expected to be completed in spring 2005. Utilizing commercial off the shelf technology, the upgrade replaces the original Litton L-304 tactical mission computers used in the Group II aircraft since the late 1960s, and provides more reliable, high-performance processing.

Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 received the first CH-53E Super Stallion Ballistic Protection System in September 2004. The armor system--consisting of 37 steel and Kevlar armor plates installed in the cockpit, cabin, and ramp to protect against 7.62mm rounds and blast fragments--was subsequently installed in CH-53Es participating in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Mishaps

An F/A-18C Hornet of Strike Fighter Squadron 131 crashed after takeoff from Nellis AFB, Nev., on 9 November 2004. The pilot ejected safely.

On 2 November 2004 an EA-6B Prowler of Electronic Attack Squadron 138 suffered Class A damage when the nose gear collapsed on landing rollout at NAS Fallon, Nev. There were no injuries.

An F-14B Tomcat of Fighter Squadron 103 suffered Class A damage following catastrophic engine failure while in tension on the catapult aboard John F. Kennedy (CV 67) on 22 October 2004.

On 19 October 2004 aboard Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), a blueshirt was injured when run over by a VFA-82 F/A-18C Hornet being towed under the direction of a yellowshirt.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 suffered Class A damage but landed safely with fodded engines after striking trees at night on short final at NB Point Mugu, Calif., on 14 October 2004.

On 7 October 2004, an HH-60H Seahawk of HS-15 was damaged when it struck the ground following takeoff in Kuwait.

EDITED BY WENDY LELAND
COPYRIGHT 2005 Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Leland, Wendy
Publication:Naval Aviation News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:569
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