The RAAF in February quietly replaced the EA-18G Growler that caught fire in 2018 — but the Department of Defence made no announcement of its arrival.
Australia had an original fleet of 12, and it was only confirmed it would replace the written-off jet in 2021 at a reported cost of $170 million.
The original aircraft was damaged beyond repair while taking off over the Nellis Test and Training Range in Nevada in preparation for the start of Exercise Red Flag 18-1.
As it approached rotation speed, it suffered what Defence described at the time as a “malfunction”, with the crew forced to conduct a high-speed abort.
The two crew stayed with the aircraft until it came to rest off the side of Nellis’ eastern runway and were able to climb out of the jet and get clear of the flames.