The U.S. Navy plans to request EA-18G Growlers in the service ’s unfunded priorities list to address future electronic attack ( EA ) needs for joint operations , says Adm. Jonathan Greenert , the chief of naval operations .

During a March 10 budget briefing , Greenert did not say how many additional aircraft would be included in the request , but a senior Navy official said the service would ask for 22 in the list it planned to send to the Defense Department later that day.

“We’re the only Defense Department option for electronic attack ,” Greenert told reporters . He said the studies he has seen indicate a need for more Growlers as a “ hedge ” against future threats and to reduce risk.

The inclusion in the unfunded priorities list will come as some solace to Boeing , which makes Growlers and F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. The Navy stopped funding procurement of F-18s and EA-18Gs in fiscal 2014. The fiscal 2015 budget request includes about $679 million for F-18 modifications, Navy officials say.

“ Significant modifications include infrared search and track , additional service life extension , multifunctional information distribution system / Joint Tactical Radio System upgrades and automated information system upgrades,” the Navy notes.

There had been some question about whether the Navy would buy more F-18s as delayed continued with the Lockheed martin F-35 , but Navy officials have said that would be unlikely.

In a statement released after the budget last week, Boeing said: “We are disappointed that President Obama ’s fiscal year 2015 budget request doesn’t include funding for the Navy to procure additional Super Hornets or Growlers . Given the importance of maintaining a robust tactical Naval aviation fleet , Boeing intends to work with the Congress to add such funding during Capitol Hill consideration of the fiscal (20)15 budget .”