An E-2D Hawkeye over Naval Station Norfolk on March 20, 2014.US Navy/MCS2 Ernest R. Scott

  • The E-2D Superior Hawkeye is the US Navy’s latest airborne early warning and management plane.

  • It took its first flight on August 3, 2007 and was delivered to the Navy in 2010.

  • The E-2D is the Navy’s eye within the sky, guiding mates and monitoring foes from tons of of miles away.

On August 3, the US Navy’s “digital quarterback,” the Northrop Grumman E-2D Superior Hawkeye, celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of its first flight.

The E-2D is the latest variant of the E-2 airborne early warning and management plane. In service since 1964, it’s a appreciable enchancment over its predecessors.

It is among the Navy’s biggest drive multipliers — an eye fixed within the sky that may spot the whole lot and something inside tons of of miles and information different plane and ships into battle.

Like its predecessors, it’s a necessary a part of the Navy’s aviation drive and an important part of any provider air wing — a lot in order that it’s nonetheless being upgraded to make sure an extended service life.

Airborne early warning and management

Navy E-2A Hawkeye E-1B Tracer

An E-2A Hawkeye, left, and a E-1B Tracer close to Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia, in 1970.US Navy

The mission of any airborne early warning and management (AEW&C) plane is to detect and observe enemy plane, ships, missiles, and automobiles from far-off with the intention to hold pleasant models appraised of the threats they face in real-time.

AEW&C plane additionally present command and management, appearing as a communications hub to relay information, intelligence, orders, and communications between pleasant models and commanders.

The US Navy’s first purpose-built airborne early warning plane was the E-1 Tracer, constructed by Grumman — the predecessor to Northrop Grumman — in 1956. The E-1 was primarily based on the C-1 Dealer, a carrier-based cargo aircraft derived from the S-2 Tracker, a carrier-based anti-submarine-warfare plane.

E-2C Hawkeye radar sailors

US Navy officers conduct airborne early warning and strike group coordination on an E-2C, November 11, 2008.US Navy/MCS2 Clifford L. H. Davis

Immediately recognizable due to the big, aerofoil-shaped radar dome mounted on its roof, the E-1 noticed intensive service within the early years of the Vietnam Warfare, supporting fight air patrols and bombing runs in each North and South Vietnam and warning pleasant forces of enemy MiG exercise.

Because it was an interim plane, the E-1 was solely in Navy service for six years earlier than the E-2 Hawkeye changed it in 1964, although the it wasn’t formally taken out of service till 1977.

The E-2 was a substantial improve, given its all-weather functionality and turboprop engines. It first noticed service in Vietnam and shortly gained a repute because the Navy’s digital eyes. It shortly turned an important a part of the provider air wing and served in each theater of naval operations.

Superior Hawkeye

Navy E-2D Hawkeye Marine Corps F-35

A US Navy E-2D Hawkeye and US Marine Corps F-35s over the South China Sea, April 8, 2019.US Navy/MCS3 Benjamin F. Davella III

There have been a number of E-2 variants, with the E-2D being the newest and most trendy. It was first flown on August 3, 2007 and was delivered to the Navy in 2010.

The E2-D can attain speeds of 300 knots and might fly as much as 37,000 ft. Its crew consists of two pilots and three naval flight officers, who man and monitor the electronics on board.

The all-weather AN/APY-9 radar mounted over its fuselage can scan a full 360 levels, detecting air and floor targets concurrently and suppressing digital interference, in response to its producer, Lockheed Martin.

The E-2D additionally has an all-glass cockpit with absolutely digital flight devices, giving pilots higher situational consciousness whereas flying and extra precision when utilizing their avionics.

Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

An E-2D approaches the plane provider USS Carl Vinson within the Philippine Sea, September 25, 2021.US Navy/MCS Seaman Mason Congleton

Different upgrades embrace a sophisticated Identification Good friend or Foe System, a brand new mission pc and tactical workstations, and modernized communications and data-link suites.

The E-2D’s trendy methods enable the naval flight officers on board to coordinate the operations of a number of air and floor strike teams whereas being removed from the motion itself.

“For 50 years, the E-2 has performed one thing no different carrier-based plane can do, and that is take a really succesful radar system to 25,000 ft, tons of of miles ahead from the provider, and handle the airspace,” mentioned Rear Adm. Randy Mahr, the E-2 program supervisor from 2005 to 2008.

E-2Ds are particularly essential for defending Navy property, as they’ll observe fast-moving targets like missiles, jets, and drones. E-2Ds are among the many first plane to take off from a provider at first of any operation and are often the final to land.

E-2D Hawkeye USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier

An E-2D strikes into launch place aboard the plane provider USS Abraham Lincoln on July 18, 2019.US Navy/MCS3 Dan Snow

Hawkeyes are so essential that they proceed to obtain upgrades, essentially the most notable of which is an aerial refueling probe. Aerial refueling permits E-2Ds to fly so long as eight hours. It has been refueled by a crewed tanker plane and by the brand new MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling drone.

Up to now, 55 E-2Ds have been delivered — 10 with an aerial refueling probe — and 23 extra have been ordered. The Navy requested Congress to order one other eight, for a complete stock of 86 plane. The service’s final objective is to have 22 E-2Ds operational at any time, and due to the plane’s significance, the Navy hopes to maintain it flying properly into the 2040s.

The E-2D can also be headed abroad. Japan has ordered 13, three of which have been delivered, whereas France has ordered three, that are anticipated to be delivered by 2027.

Each international locations already function older E-2 fashions. France will function its E-2Ds from its provider, Charles de Gaulle, whereas Japan’s E-2Ds might be land-based.

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