Big radar planes are getting extra range for Pacific duties
This article originally appeared at The National Interest. Posted at War is Boring Dec 12 2017
The Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye completed its first aerial refueling earlier this summer.
The new capability, which will be eventually be retrofitted onto the U.S. Navy’s entire E-2D fleet, will greatly increase the range and endurance of the Advanced Hawkeye. That is particularly important as the United States focuses more on the Asia-Pacific region, where the vast distances over the Pacific are increasingly forcing the Navy to look for way to extend the reach of its carrier air wings.
“Passing fuel for the first time airborne is a significant milestone in the development of this critical technology for the E-2D, which increases the range and persistence of command and control the E-2D provides to U.S. and allied forces,” Capt. Keith Hash, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data Systems (PMA-231) program manager, said in a statement.
According to Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy, the first E-2D equipped with aerial refueling successfully received its first in-flight fuel transfer from a tanker aircraft on July 14. “During the four-hour flight, the pilots performed 10 dry plugs and two wet plugs, resulting in the successful transfer of more than 1,700 pounds of fuel from a U.S. Navy KC-130 Hercules to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye,” reads a Northrop Grumman statement.
There are two additional aircraft in the aerial refueling test program, which is part of U.S. Navy contract awarded to the company in 2013. All newly built E-2Ds will start to receive the aerial refueling systems modifications starting in 2018. Older aircraft already serving in the fleet will be retrofitted. The new system is set to become operational in 2020.
The E-2D’s Lockheed Martin AN/APY-9 UHF-band radar is the central feature of the Advanced Hawkeye. To continue the story of how E-2D contributes to neutralizing Chinese stealth fighters, click here: http://warisboring.com/