Huge damage to $300 million RAAF jet revealed
PICTURES have revealed the extent of the damage to a $300m RAAF fighter jet that crashed during exercises at a US military base in Nevada.
According to reports, the EA-18G Growler slid off the runway and caught fire during an aborted take-off.
No Royal Australian Air Force personnel were injured in the incident at Nellis Air Force Base, however the aircraft was severely damaged.
Australia Aviation showed pictures of the damaged plane, which is said to have suffered engine failure.
The right engine and the aircraft frame appear to have suffered extensive damage.
RAAF Growler apparently experienced a critical engine failure during takeoff at Nellis AFB, before skidding off the runway. Pilot and ground crew are safe. pic.twitter.com/xlqS0r0eFE— Elana McIntyre (@elanalmcintyre) January 28, 2018
What exactly went wrong during the exercises is yet to be confirmed, but it is the latest in a number of incidents involving newly acquirely hi-tech defence vehicles.
The crew of the Growler, the pilot and an electronic welfare officer, exited the plane without incident.
The plane was one of four EA-18G Growler sent to Nevada to participate in the military exercises.
The damaged plane is one of 12 Growlers in service with the RAAF.
The EA-18G Growler is a modified electronic warfare variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet designed to jam enemy radar systems.
Australia has bought 12 of the Boeing-built aircraft at a lifetime cost of about $3.7 billion - or $300 million each.
In a statement last week, the United States Air Force said the Australian aircraft had "experienced an incident during takeoff on the Nellis Air Force Base flight line" at 10.45am.
Defence is working with the US Air Force to investigate the incident.
The Australian and British air forces are at Nellis Air Force Base taking part in a three-week air combat training exercise, known as Red Flag, with the US air force, navy, army and marines.
The exercises typically involve a range of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft.
US Air Force Colonel Michael Mathes says this year's Red Flag is the largest ever and was trying a few new and different things to previous training missions.
EA-18G GROWLER 'A NEW ERA'
Defence Minister Marise Payne said the arrival of the Growler in February last year was a game-changer.
"The Growler can disrupt military electronic systems, such as radars, to protect personnel and improve situational awareness," Minister Payne said.
"Australia is the only country outside the United States flying the EA-18G Growler and its arrival is a significant leap forward in Australia's joint electronic warfare capability and introduces a dedicated electronic attack option," Minister Payne said.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies said the Growler EA-18G was "a vital part of Air Force's evolution to a future fifth-generation Air Force".
"The EA-18G Growler will operate as part of our networked and integrated force, capable of sharing electronic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data with other aircraft, as well as with the Army and Navy," he said.
"The Growler is powerful and flexible. It can undertake a range of non-kinetic tasks, ranging from jamming, to blocking radar displays, and suppressing an adversary's air defence system," Air Marshal Davies said.