26 June 2008

Should I taste the Kool-Aid?

The Growler has now been up here at Whidbey for about week. The first production variant straight from the factory in St. Louis arrived here on the 3rd of June. About two days after the main body of my squadron arrived. I have yet to see it actually fly mind you all. Let alone what the whole set up in the cockpit looks like. I will probably find a way to duck out of work some day walk down to the RAG and ask for a hook up from one of the guys that I know working there. That way I can get a chance to sit in the cockpit and look at all the new cool toys.

On the flip side of this equation there appears to still be some serious teething issues going on. As I write this it is the 27th of June and according to the word on the flight line, this wolf has yet to pass its acceptance FCF. Let alone there were some tools from the production line found inside the jet and bags of fasteners found in other places. Time will tell what is going to happen and how this is all going to succeed on the EF-18G. There are still kinks to be worked out but hopefully all will go well.

Meanwhile on my side of the EW world, I have to strip two jets down and get them ready for the interim modification by a field support team. The interim mod is going to install some of the cool features of the EF-18G like digital ICS, improved IFF system, and digital flight control system. The digital flight controls isn't a true fly by wire like the F-18's have. Rather it is a frankenstein design, an improved computer compared to the older one and it has a better response time when in autopilot and an auto carrier pilot landing system. Meanwhile there is also talk of taking another look at some of the older EA-6B's and if they are under the flight hours restriction sending them to the Naval Air Depot for further upgrade to ICAP III with the new and improve ICS, IFF, DFCS, and the new ECM suite. Some one up the line has gotten smart and decided that it might make sense to simplify down to only have two different variants floating out in the supply system instead of the way the F-14 folks did it (with F-14B's, F-14A's, and F-14D's out there in the fleet). Again time will tell if logic will prevail or if there will be a Dilbert style leadership intervention to prevent that bit of logic to escape into the wild.

I am sure some of you readers will want to know, but personally I think the name "Growler" sucks big time for the name of a jet. The reason is that to my sailor like mind the term just conjures up the thought of an action that is supposed to be very private. :) I would of preferred something more interesting like the "Shocker" . I have also heard the term "Electric Bug" or even "Lightening Bug" by some people around here.

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