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News | Dec. 14, 2017

DCMA Boeing St. Louis delivers 150th Growler

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION CHINA LAKE, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017 — Defense Contract Management Agency Boeing St. Louis recently delivered its 150th EA-18G Growler aircraft to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Three One, known as VX-31, here.

The event signified an important milestone in the Growler program. After more than 10 years of production, its current contract ends late next year with the final planned delivery of the 160th aircraft.

“This delivery marks a monumental achievement for the DCMA and Boeing team supporting the warfighter,” said Navy Capt. Paul Filardi, DCMA Boeing St. Louis commander, as he climbed into the aircraft for its delivery flight.

Filardi, who served as the flight’s weapons system officer, shared the honor of delivering aircraft No. 150 with pilot and DCMA Boeing St. Louis chief of flight operations Navy Cmdr. Douglas Hool.

“While working with Boeing, we are one team with one mission, delivering a quality product to the Navy,” said Hool.

The delivery milestone aligns with Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis’ first tenet of command intent. Since assuming his role as DCMA’s director in May, Lewis has emphasized his delivery-driven agency view.

“We are, first and foremost, a product delivery organization,” said Lewis. “Our nation’s warfighters expect our industry counterparts to deliver the equipment and systems they need to fight and win our nation’s wars, and DCMA is the Department of Defense organization tasked to make sure that happens at the factory floor. Timely, effective product delivery requires insightful and proactive integration across contracting, engineering, quality assurance, finance, information technology and program management. We must always perform as an integrated team; a team focused on the singular, common goal of product delivery.”

For the EA-18G, the agency’s program support began more than 10 years ago.

“After 45 years of service, the Navy retired the EA-6B Prowler in 2015,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bellinghausen, DCMA Boeing St. Louis alternate government flight representative. “With the introduction of the EA-18G in 2007, the Navy has moved on to provide the fleet with a more capable and lethal electronic warfare aircraft.”

The Naval Air Systems Command describes the Growler as “a variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet Block II and will fly the airborne electronic attack mission. The EA-18G combines the capability of the combat-proven Super Hornet with the latest (airborne electronic attack) avionics suite evolved from the Improved Capability III system. The EA-18G’s vast array of sensors and weapons provides the warfighter with a lethal and survivable weapon system to counter current and emerging threats.”

With production name “G-150,” the newly delivered aircraft will enter service with VX-31 as “Dust Devil 507” furthering platform testing and tactical development for the fleet.

According to the unit’s website, VX-31provides aircraft, test pilots, project officers and flight test planning oversight for research, development, test and evaluation of current and future manned aircraft, weapons and weapons systems. The squadron earns its skyward nickname — Dust Devils — annually flying approximately 4,000 flight hours while employing unique test assets. VX-31 actively supports daily flight tests, ground tests and other data gathering activities.

The Dust Devils, who are commanded by Navy Cmdr. Elizabeth Somerville, plan, execute, analyze, evaluate and report full spectrum developmental and integrated test of aircraft and weapon systems. It is an important mission that involves multiple aircraft including the Growler and Super Hornet.

“The Navy’s fighter and electronic attack fleet is currently composed entirely of F/A-18 and EA-18 aircraft, cementing this production line as the backbone of much of the Navy’s fixed wing fleet,” said Bellinghausen.