Navy chooses Champion Aerospace to provide power electronics for carrier-based combat aircraft avionics

Sept. 29, 2022
The transformer rectifier unit (TRU) combines transformer and rectifier, and converts 120-volt AC power to 28-volt DC power for onboard avionics.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy combat aircraft experts needed power conditioning and control retrofit kits for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter bomber and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare (EW) jet. They found their solution from Champion Aerospace LLC in Liberty, S.C.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $9 million contract to Champion Aerospace earlier this month for 252 175-amp transformer rectifier unit (TRU) retrofit kits for Super Hornet and Growler carrier-based combat jets.

A TRU combines a transformer and a rectifier into one unit. In aircraft it converts 120-volt AC power from the aircraft engine, auxiliary power unit (APU), or ground power unit (GPU) to 28-volt DC power for onboard avionics.

Of 252 TRU power electronics units, 240 are for the F/A-18E/F fleet and EA-18G squadrons, and 12 are for EA-18G Growler capability modification operational test for upgrading the current 150-amp TRU to a 175-amp TRU.

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The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter and light-attack bomber based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, which entered U.S. Navy squadrons in 1983. Super Hornets are larger and more advanced derivatives, with a larger wing and a longer fuselage to carry more fuel and more powerful engines.

The Super Hornet has an internal 20-millimeter M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons, and has improved active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, large displays, the joint helmet mounted cuing system, and several other avionics systems.

The EA-18G Growler is a specialized version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that is adapted for jamming enemy radar and communications, as well as attacking enemy radar installations with missiles that home-in on radar signals.

The Growler is designed for suppressing enemy air defenses; stand-off and escort jamming; non-traditional electronic attack by integrating with ground EW operations; self-protect and time-critical strike support; and cost-effective technology insertion and system upgrades.

Related: Air Force starts installing EPAWSS advanced electronic warfare (EW) avionics aboard F-15E combat aircraft

The Growler's EW gear includes AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers on the wingtips, and ALQ-99 high- and low-band tactical jamming pods. The ALQ-218 and ALQ-99 form an EW suite that provides detection and jamming against all known surface-to-air missiles. The aircraft is being readied for future threats with the Raytheon Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ).

The Growler can carry as many as five ALQ-99 jamming pods and two AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles or AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles. It uses an interference cancellation system that allows radio voice communication during jamming.

On this contract Champion Aerospace will do the work in Liberty, S.C., and should be finished by December 2023. For more information contact Champion Aerospace online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

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