Golden Age Weaponsmiths EA-18G Growler (Block One & Two):

Based on the A-6 Avenger attack aircraft, the Grumman EA-6 Prowler electronic warfare aircraft served for over forty years before being retired. While extremely useful, the airframes were getting old long before this. The United States Navy wanted to develop a replacement of the Prowler. The new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was selected as a basis for this new electronic warfare aircraft.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet had many advantages over the A-6 Avenger. It was much faster, had the ability to carry air to air ordnance giving it the ability to fight its way out of hostile territory, and designed to be easier maintain than previous aircraft. It even had some reduction in its radar cross signature. The new electronic warfare aircraft became the EA-18G Growler. The first flew in Two Thousand Six and entered production in Two Thousand Seven. The aircraft entered service in Two Thousand Nine.

Major changes compared to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet include the replacement of the wing tip missile rails with electronic gear and the removal of the 20 mm Vulcan Cannon from the nose of the aircraft. Up to five ALQ-99 High Band / Low Band Jamming Pods could be carried although three were more commonly carried. Otherwise, it uses the same airframe, same engines, and can carry most of the same ordnance as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet can carry. As one would expect, it was also carried capable.

There were many teething problems with the EA-18G including that the jamming system interfered initially with the AN/APG-79 Radar system. As well, operating the jamming systems imposes a high work load on the two man crew of the aircraft. The EA-6 Prowler has a crew of four. Eventually, the various problems were solved and the aircraft with distinction.

There was a later upgrade version of the EA-18G Growler, along with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, known as “Block Three.” The “Block Three” versions of the aircraft featured more powerful engines, conformal fuel tanks, and other various improvements. There was also a missile pod which could be slung under the fuselage which ordnance could be carried while keeping a low cross signature. This pod was rarely carried on the “Block Three” version of the EA-18G Growler.

In the Twenty Thirties, there was a revolution in super strong materials. This had the effect of rendering the militaries of the world obsolete almost over night. In some cases, military hardware was rebuilt but in other cases the hardware was retired. Even though fairly new, it was decided that the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler would be retired. They were carefully mothballed for storage in case they would be needed again.

Mostly forgotten, a handful of these aircraft somehow survived the coming of the Rifts. Eventually these aircraft were rediscovered where a number found their way into the hands of Golden Age Weaponsmiths. The company decided to rebuild the fighters and offer them for sale. The Growler sell for about ten million credits due to the jamming systems compared to about four million for the Super Hornet. While many groups have shown an interest and purchased these electronic warfare aircraft, the Coalition has not purchased any unlike the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which they purchased a number.

There appear to be some interest in manufacturing a new construction aircraft based on Pre-Rifts designs by Golden Age Weaponsmiths. Some possible designs include the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Hornet. If the Hornet design, it is unknown if this will be the standard or “Super Hornet” versions. If the “Super Hornet” version is sleceted, it is possible that Golden Age Weaponsmiths may build a jamming version of the aircraft as well.

The reconditioning of these aircraft was on many different levels. The twin General Electric F414-GE-400 engines had to be rebuild in most cases. Luckily, they had already been certified for using bio-fuels, which much of jet fuel is after the coming of the Rifts, and they had been modified to reduce fuel consumption. The electronics had to also be reconditioned. In many cases, components were no longer available and innovative solutions were needed. While not the equal of modern systems, they are still reasonably capable.

As with most designs, these aircraft needed to be extensively modified to increase their ability to survive in a modern combat environment. This included the replacement of virtually the entire skin with new super strong composites and the frame being reinforced. This allows the aircraft to withstand far greater damage than when they were built although still far weaker than most new fighters. Still, it gives some survival ability. While the aircraft does not have the 20 mm Vulcan cannon of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the nine hard points of the EA-18G Growler are refitted to mount the standard missile types available after the coming of the Rifts. The original missiles that the aircraft was designed to carry have long been out of service. When carrying three jamming pods, the aircraft will often carry two extra fuel tanks, two long range, and two medium range missiles. Up to five fuel tanks can be theoretically carried although are rarely carried.

Model Number: EA-18G (Block One and Two)
Vehicle Type: Twin Engine Electronic Warfare Aircraft
Crew: Two

M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Jamming Pods (5 maximum / 3 normal):40 each
[2] Wings (2):80 each
[3] Elevators (2):50 each
[3] Rudders (2):50 each
[4] Engines (2):120 each
Landing Gear (3):5 each
[5] Main Body:150

[1] The loss of a jamming pod will cause the jamming effect to be reduced by 5.8 miles (5 nautical miles / 9.3 km), 10% to radar system range. As well, the loss of a jamming pods will cause the loss of one to penalties against radar guided missiles.
[2] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[3] Destruction of rudders or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the fighter has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
[4] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.
[5] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight.

Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing. Has a tail hook for carrier landings and designed to be catapult launched.
Flying: The“Block One & Two” Growler can reach a top speed of Mach 1.8 (1,159.0 knots / 1385.2 mph/2221.8 kph) on full afterburner (the fighter can only last a few minutes at that speed and consumes most of the fuel.) Top speed is reduced by about 10% when fully loaded (Including Jamming Pods.) The fighter’s normal cruise speed is about 400 knots (460.6 mph / 741.3 kph) but varies on situation. The fighter has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 m)
Range: 1,326 nautical miles (1527 miles / 2,457.4 kilometers) with no external ordnance load on internal fuel only. Can carry up to five external 480 gallon tanks in place of ordnance (Centerline and Wing hard points.) Each extends range by 130 nautical miles (149.7 miles / 240.9 kilometers.) Normally a maximum of three are carried unless in the refueling role. Reduce aircraft's range by 15% if partially loaded (two long range missiles, four medium range missile or eight short range missiles, or more - carry missile pod or a single jamming pod counts as partially loaded and carrying three or more jamming pods counts as fully loaded) and by 25% if fully loaded. The EA-18G Growler can be refueled in the air.

Statistical Data:
Height: 16 feet (4.88 meters)
Wingspan: 44 feet 8.5 inches (13.62 meters) including wingtip-mounted pods.
Length: 60 feet 1.25 inches (18.31 meters)
Weight: 33,094 pounds (15,011 kilograms) empty and 66,000 pounds (29,964 kilograms) fully loaded including conformal tanks.
Power System: Conventional, Two F414-GE-400 enhanced performance turbofan engines (14,000 lbs dry thrust and 22,000 lbs thrust each on afterburner), uses aviation fuel
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment) in cockpit, does not include hard points.
Black Market Cost: 10 million credits (Can sometimes sell for double that price.)

Weapon Systems:

  1. Nine (9) Hard Points: The Growler has a total of nine hard points to carry ordinance, reduce from eleven on the Super Hornet. The aircraft has one hard point on the wing tips, three on each of the the wings, one hard point on either side of the fuselage, and one centerline. Below is a list of hard points and the loads that they can carry. Missiles, rocket packs, and bombs can be mixed or matched but all ordnance on a hard point must be the same type. The missile pod is only carried on the central hard point.
    Centerline Hard Point: Fuel tanks, ALQ-99 jamming pod, missiles/bombs (one long range /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry ALQ-99 jamming pod missile pod, heavy bombs, or fuel tanks.
    Outer Fuselage Hard Points (2): Missiles only (one medium range missile or two short range missiles each.) Originally designed to carry the Sparrow and AMRAAM missiles.
    Inner Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, ALQ-99 jamming pod, towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range/heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry fuel tanks, heavy bombs, JSOW`s, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Middle Wing Hard Points (2): Fuel tanks, ALQ-99 jamming pod, towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one long range /heavy, two medium range/medium, or four short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry fuel tanks, heavy bombs, Harpoons, HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    Outer Wing Hard Points (2): Towed decoy, rocket packs, or missiles/bombs (one medium range/medium, or two short range/light each.) Originally designed to carry HARMs, Mavericks, Sparrows, AMRAAMs, and Sidewinder missiles.
    1. Bombs and Missiles: The only restriction is that a hard point must carry all the same type of missiles or bombs. Both unguided and guided bombs can be carried. In two pilot versions, missiles are controlled by either the pilot or the weapons officer.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies by missile type for missile and varies by altitude bombs are dropped at (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega Damage: Varies by missile or bomb type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Missiles can be fired and bombs can be dropped one at a time per hard point. Multiple hard points can be linked as one attack but must be the same size (light, medium, or heavy) and style of ordnance (all missiles or bombs in a volley.)
      Payload: Varies by hard point (see above - all ordnance on a hard point must be the same size and type of ordnance).
    2. Mini-Missile Pod: Large capacity mini-missile pod. The mini missile pods are normally carried for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles. In two pilot versions, mini missile pods are controlled by the pilot.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Damage: Varies with mini-missile types (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each pod can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16 - all.) and can be linked with other mini missile pods for greater number of missiles (Counts as one attack no matter how many missiles in volley.)
      Payload: Each pod carries sixteen (16) mini-missiles.
    3. ALQ-99 Airborne Integrated Jamming System: Up to five pods are carried for full effectiveness although three is normally carried. The system is designed to intercepting, automatically processing and jamming received radio frequency signals (Radio and radar.) Aircraft's radar is designed to be able to hop frequencies so that it is not jammed by the jamming pods.
      Maximum Effective Range: One pod has a effective radius of 20 nautical miles (23.0 miles / 37.1 kilometers) with each additional pod increasing range by 5 nautical mile (5.8 miles / 9.3 kilometers) radius per additional jamming pod.
      Effects: When activated, radio communications, radars, and electromagnetic sensors are reduced in range by 35% for one pod and 10% for each additional pod to a maximum of 75% (55% normal) when within jamming area. In addition, radar systems will have a -25% penalty to detect all targets within their reduced range. Laser communications and light-based sensors are unaffected by the jamming pods. Jamming also creates a penalty of -4 for one pod and -1 for each additional pod for a maximum penalty of -8 (-6 normally) to all radar guided weapons within the jamming area. Some missile will home on jamming and will go after aircraft carrying them.
    4. Towed Decoys (4): The pod takes place of all ordnance on the hard point. The aircraft can carry a special pod that carries four advanced towed decoy drones. These drones are dragged about 328 feet (100 meters) behind the aircraft on a thin cable. Each is a specially designed radar lure that creates a radar image to mimic the aircraft. If decoys are not destroyed, they can be recovered and repaired. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World weapons due to technological difference.
      M.D.C.: 5 each
      Effects: The decoy has an 65% chance of fooling ordinary non military radars and non smart guided missiles, the decoy has a 35% chance of fooling military level radars (like those of the Coalition), and the decoy has a 10% chance of fooling advanced military radars (Like those of the New Navy and Triax) and smart missiles.
      Range: Not Applicable although the decoy is deployed 328 feet (100 meters) from the aircraft
      Rate of Fire: One can be deployed at a time and requires 15 seconds to deploy (Reel Out) another decoy
      Payload: Four (4) decoys each pod.
  2. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser: Use the same effects as the TRIAX model. However, each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares. Rifts Earth decoy systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 25 chaff, 50 flares. Each time the system is engaged, the system fires off one chaff and 1D4 flares.

Special Equipment: The equipment of the fighter has been upgraded but many of the original systems are still on the fighter. Consider the fighter to carry all standard equipment that robot vehicles carry (not including loudspeaker and microphone) plus the following extra systems:

Combat Bonuses:

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Original writup of the F/A-18E/F by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa)

E/A-18G writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2011, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.