Growler airforce jets touch town in Vic

Christopher Talbot
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Growlers to make debut at Airshow

Australia's new Growler aircraft will make their debut at the International Airshow in Avalon.

Two elite Growler electronic aircraft, the latest weapons in Australia's airforce arsenal, have touched down at the Avalon Airshow.

Crowds applauded as two Growlers landed on the tarmac at Avalon on Tuesday - jets that the nation's defence minister says will provide a "significant leap forward" in Australia's attack capabilities.

The Growler has so far only be used by US forces, making Australia the only nation outside America to operate the high-tech jets.

After touching down, one of the aircraft was towed around to the waiting media and Defence Minister Marise Payne took a tour with the RAAF's top brass.

She says the aircraft gives the RAAF a dedicated electronic attack option for the first time.

"Electronic warfare is a rapidly evolving area," Ms Payne said at the air show's official opening.

"The arrival of our first Australian Growler is a significant leap forward in Australia's joint electronic warfare capability."

The EA-18G Growler's jamming pods are capable of disrupting, deceiving or denying a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communication.

Air Force Chief Air Marshal Leo Davies said the aircraft's features and uses were still being explored but it was the beginning of a decade of exciting advances for the nation's defence forces.

"Is this aircraft in the Australian inventory perfect right now for every battle? No. But we are going to use all the pieces we can get to make this aircraft more effective," Chief Air Marshall Davies said.

"It's extremely effective, and we'll keep it that way."

He says the aircraft is a change that ADF hasn't had before and its arrival is considered an " absolute watershed moment", but the airforce is still learning how to use it.

Ms Payne also announced Australia will partner with the United States Navy to develop a next generation radar and radio jammer for the Growler - a $250 million investment to futureproof the aircraft.

The controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets will also be on show over the weekend.

The fifth-generation aircraft landed at the RAAF Amberley Base in Queensland on Monday afternoon ahead of their appearance at the air show.

Australia has committed to spend about $17 billion on 72 jets to replace the ageing FA-18A/B Classic Hornets, with the first expected to enter service from late 2018.

The two jets have been based in Arizona in the US, where four Australian pilots are learning to fly them.

After the airshow the jets will return to the US.