Norfolk March 13, 2015 - Five E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 embarked upon their maiden deployment March 11, 2015 as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
After completing research, development, testing and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and achieving Initial Operational Capability Oct. 10, 2014, The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is set to replace the E-2C Hawkeye in its primary mission to provide airborne early warning and command and control capabilities for all aircraft-carrier battle groups. While the primary mission for the E-2 has not changed, the Advanced Hawkeye is able to gather and process data more precisely and efficiently thanks to state-of-the-art radar and communication equipment.
“Suppose you’re looking through a pair of goggles, with the E-2C you have 20/20 vision, and with the E-2D you have 20/10,” said Cmdr. Daryl Trent, commanding officer of VAW-125. “It has significantly advanced radar, its computer processing capabilities have been increased and the communication suites have been enhanced. This plane is a real game-changer.”
The Advanced Hawkeye’s technology makes it a multi-mission platform through its ability to coordinate concurrent missions which may arise during a single flight. These missions can include airborne strike, ground force support, rescue operations and managing a reliable communications network capable of supporting drug interdiction operations.
Along with advances in equipment, the Advanced Hawkeye’s all-glass cockpit boasts an entirely digital display, an upgrade that allows the co-pilot to assist in performing many of the duties of the crew’s Naval Flight Officers while in flight.
“It’s not like before when everything was pressure gauges,” said Trent. “Now everything is digital. This makes for a stronger ability to process information, and allows the co-pilot to change his display and access acquired data.”
With the first five going out to sea, the Navy plans to continue procuring the Advanced Hawkeye to replace the Hawkeye through 2023.
“This aircraft has been in development for almost 20 years,” said Trent. “Now that we’re set for our maiden deployment, and we get set to integrate with craft like the Growler and the Hornet, we’re going to become the most efficient carrier strike group in the fleet.”
The E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231)continues to develop software and other upgrades for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, to maintain the platform’s technological lead over opposing forces. Future upgrades to the E-2D being developed at NAS Patuxent River include aerial refueling capability, which will enable E-2D Hawkeye aircrews to remain on mission longer.