Pentagon sends Growler electronic warfare aircraft to Germany
Six U.S. Navy Growler aircraft will arrive in Germany on Monday to bolster electronic warfare capabilities on NATO’s eastern flank, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
The EA-18G Growler planes, along with about 240 Navy personnel, will fly from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., to Spangdahlem Air Base where they be temporarily based, Kirby told reporters.
The Boeing Co.-built planes specialize in flying electronic warfare missions using jamming sensors to confuse enemy radars, “greatly aiding in the ability to conduct suppression of enemy air defense operations,” Kirby said.
But he stressed that the aircraft will not be used against Russian forces in Ukraine and are “not being sent because of some sort of acute threat that was perceived or some specific incident that happened.”
Rather, they will fly missions to “reinforce deterrence capabilities of the alliance on the eastern flank. They are not there to engage Russian assets, that is not the goal,” Kirby said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “wants to keep options open,” and after speaking to U.S. European Command head Gen. Tod Wolters and the German government, “this was deemed to be an additional move that could continue to bolster and reinforce our defenses on the eastern flank,” Kirby said.
The U.S. military has roughly 100,000 personnel stationed in Europe on either a rotational or a permanent basis as Russia’s violent incursion into Ukraine is now in its fifth week.
The attack on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has caused nearly 4 million people to flee the country and prompted NATO to shore up forces in alliance nations nearby.