Happy Burner Friday to you, FighterSweep Fans! Today’s Burner Friday installment featuring the Boeing EA-18G Growler is brought to you courtesy of VAQ-132, based at NAS Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, Washington.
Electronic Attack Squadron 132, the “Scorpions,” can trace its history all the way back to Patrol Squadron 29 (VP-29). In November of 1955, VP-29 personnel helped to form Heavy Attack Squadron Two (VAH-2), the “Royal Rampants,” and transitioned to the A3D Skywarrior – the “Whale.”
With the new aircraft, the squadron also changed its home station to NAS Whidbey Island within a year. In January 1971, having been previously redesignated as Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 132 (VAQ-132), the Scorpions changed out of the electronic warfare variant of the Whale and received the EA-6B Prowler, thereby becoming the first operational squadron in the new electronic attack aircraft.
VAQ-132 began the transition to the Boeing EA-18G Growler in February 2009, receiving their flight certification that summer. Initial operational capability (IOC) was achieved in the fall, on September 22. The Scorpions, keeping with their previous tradition of being first, were the initial operational squadron to transition to the “G.”
The Scorpions continued their storied history in grand fashion in 2011, when Operation Odyssey Dawn kicked off. The five jets in the squadron were redeployed from Iraq to Aviano Air Base in Italy, conducting escort SEAD missions while supporting the effort to enforce a UN no-fly-zone over Libya. It was the first time the Growler saw combat and it performed beautifully in its baptism by fire.
Here’s a pair of VAQ-132 Growlers taking off at night from Aviano for operations over Libya.
(Featured Photo Courtesy of Scott Wolff)