Navy carrier aircraft demonstrates noise levels in Iwakuni
By JAMES KIMBER AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 12, 2016
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A Navy EA-18G Growler electronic warfare plane tested its noise levels Thursday at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni before a carrier air wing moves there next year.
The Growler, from Electronic Attack Squadron 141 out of Naval Air Facility Atsugi near Tokyo, flew over the base and the surrounding city of Iwakuni, 25 miles south of Hiroshima.
The plane, a modified F/A-18F Super Hornet with electronic warfare capability to jam and suppress enemy aircraft signals, is one of the new types of aircraft that will arrive with the wing.
Officials recorded noise levels as high as 97 decibels about a half-mile from the base and 105.5 decibels on base, according to data provided by the Japanese government. A subway train produces roughly 100 decibels.
Iwakuni’s mayor, Yoshihiko Fukuda, had asked for the flight and was among those present during noise tests. The levels were “not much different from the noise from the conventional Hornets already assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni,” he said in a statement.
It was regrettable that officials couldn’t compare noise produced by the Navy’s Super Hornet to the Marines’ version, Fukuda said. The city will use the data to ensure “noise and safety precautions involving the relocation of the carrier air wing” are in place before the move, he said.
The base’s population will double to approximately 10,000 with the arrival of six squadrons making up Carrier Air Wing Five, which flies off the Yokosuka-based USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier during deployments.
The air wing’s move is part of a 2006 agreement reached by the U.S. and Japan to realign forces. New facilities being built at Iwakuni include a new airfield and support facilities, a modernized Exchange and commissary, and a 270-unit officer housing area.
Workers are also building a new recreation complex complete with a cultural center, tea room, baseball and soccer fields and indoor volleyball and basketball courts a few miles from the base atop Mount Atago.
Iwakuni City has yet to take a position on the relocation, although Fukuda soundly defeated a candidate opposed to moving the air wing in an election earlier this year.