The first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft was delivered to the fleet during a ceremony July 29 at Naval Station Norfolk in Va.
Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, accepted the Northrop Grumman manufactured aircraft on behalf of the U.S. Navy.
“Today is a major naval aviation milestone,” Roughhead said. “The E-2D is ready, relevant and capable. It’s going to be a game changer with information dominance for the U.S. Navy. I am very pleased today to accept delivery of the first E-2D to enter the U.S. Navy fleet.”
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform. It features the newly developed AN/APY-9 radar that works in concert with surface combatants equipped with the Aegis combat system to detect, track and defeat cruise missile threats at extended range. A new rotodome provides continuous, 360-degree scanning capability, while adding an electronically scanned array.
“This new platform features state-of-the-art radar with a two-generation leap in capability and upgraded aircraft systems,” said Capt Shane Gahagan, Hawkeye, Advanced Hawkeye and Greyhound Program Office (PMA-231) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. “The E-2D continues the Navy’s integrated war fighting legacy by providing broad area coverage resulting in increased range capabilities. With the E-2D’s enhanced ability to work in the littoral areas and over land, the platform provides a critical capability to protect our nation’s interests.”
Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO ZERO (VAW-120), based in Norfolk, is the first Navy squadron to operate the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. As the Navy’s Fleet Replacement Squadron, the “Greyhawks” train pilots and naval flight officers to fly the aircraft and operate the systems before assignment to an operational squadron.
According to Lt. John Sokol, a flight officer with VAW-120 and one of the first instructors to train on the E-2D said the differences between the E-2C and the E-2D are exciting.
“It’s like going from a 13-inch black and white television to a 50-inch hi-definition flat screen,” said Sokol.
The Hawkeye’s command and control capability makes it a multi-mission platform through its ability to coordinate concurrent missions that may arise during a single flight, to include: airborne strike, land force support, rescue operations, managing a reliable communications network between widely dispersed nodes and support for drug interdiction operations. The use of the new glass cockpit and tactical fourth operator display allows the five-person crew more flexibility in fulfilling these diverse missions.
“For longer than I have been in the Navy, the fleet has relied on the Hawkeye,” said Vice Adm. Allen Myers, commander of naval aviation. “It’s the first to launch and the last to recover on the flight deck, and has earned the reputation as the ears and eyes of the fleet.”