MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Amid heightened tensions over territorial rights in the West Philippine sea (South China Sea). Four Navy E/A-18G Growler aircraft with 120 personnel arrived at Clark Air Base on Wednesday.

According to a US Navy official, The mission of this four US E/A-18G Growler aircraft is to help the Philippines patrol its sea borders to ensure access to air and maritime domains in the disputed South China Sea in accordance with international law. Also to train with the FA-50 fighter pilots and support the units located at the air base as well.

The detachment consists of four aircraft and 120 personnel assigned to the expeditionary squadron based at the Naval Air Station in Whidbey Island, Washington.

U.S. Navy maintainers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 209, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, prepare to recover an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. U.S. Air Force photo by 1Lt Elias Zani/Released)

The Philippine government approved the detachment which is part of a US Contingent established by the US Pacific Command which seeks to promote interoperability and security operation.

Philippine Air Force spokesman Colonel Araus Robert Musico said, the mission was not directed toward any country but would boost the capacity of one of Asia’s weakest armed forces.

U.S. E/A-18G Growler aircraft capabilities

U.S. E/A-18G Growler is a U.S. Navy carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G replaced the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. Began production in 2007 and entered operational service in late 2009.

Its flight performance is similar to that of the F/A-18E/F. This attribute enables the Growler to perform escort jamming as well as the traditional standoff jamming mission (Radar jamming and deception). It has also equipped with weapons to protect itself against any enemy aggressor. The Growlers will be able to accompany F/A-18s during all phases of an attack mission. - Carl E.