Insufficient infrastructure has led to Australia's EA-18G Growlers' 41 per cent flying shortfall for the 2016-17 year, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies has told a parliamentary committee.
In response to questioning from Liberal Senator David Fawcett, Air Marshal Davies confirmed Australia's Growlers, which is a fleet of 12, did not achieve its targets due to issues with infrastructure.
The Chief of Air Force said the introduction of the aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force has "been one of evolution" but ongoing developments to associated infrastructure that will eventually allow for electronic testing and training had prevented the aircraft from hitting its targets.
"We are underflying at the moment because we don’t want to just burn hours," the Chief of Air Force told the committee.
"Some of our advanced training is still required to be done in the US."
However, Air Marshal Davies said he fully expects the aircraft to hit its flying hours once all the enabling elements are in place.
Australia is the only country outside of the United States operating the EA-18G Growler.
The future of one of Australia's Growlers is currently under a cloud, after catching fire at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA, during Exercise Red Flag.
The Growler is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet airframe and fitted with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency receivers, an improved communications suite and radio-frequency jamming pods. RAAF says its role is to provide a complementary capability to the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
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