The Northrop Grumman E-2D "Hawkeye" twin turboprop-powered aircraft is a special-mission platform primarily operated by the United States Navy (USN) service aboard its powerful aircraft carriers. The type is an all-modern, upgraded Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) platform representing the fourth major iteration of the Hawkeye series that began in the 1960s with the E-2A of 1962 (59 units being built). These were then succeeded by the E-2B based heavily on the A-models but these conversions differed in being completed with improved computer processing systems and revised (enlarged) outer tail fins. The E-2C production run became E-2B platforms with modernized electronics, and enhanced search / surveillance functionality. Sixty-three of this mark were produced in all of which some were given upgraded turboprop engines.
Despite its Cold War-era origins, the Hawkeye platform remains a focal point in the United States Navy's intra-theater airborne defense capabilities concerning its carrier groups.
The E-2D model completed its first flight in March of 2007 - beginning what would become a protracted development period. Key changes to its design include all-new avionics for the new battlefield, all-new digital "glass" cockpit for the crew, more powerful, uprated turboprop engines, and an in-built air-to-air refueling capability. The radar has 360-degree, all-weather scanning (electronic and mechanical) capabilities while the Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) system has been enhanced. Electronic Support Measures has also been broadened and data / communications links modernized to go along with open architecture secured network compatibility.
Physically, the aircraft is little-changed in its appearance: its arrangement is still dominated by the large radome seated over the aft-dorsal spine of the fuselage. The pilots are seated side-by-side in the cockpit positioned aft of a short nosecone. The wing mainplanes are shoulder-mounted and of straight-lined design, each given an underslung turboprop engine driving eight-bladed propeller units. The tail unit incorporated a quad-finned plane arrangement and the horizontal sections are cranked upwards. A tricycle undercarriage (retractable) is used for deck-running and the usual USN aircraft fixtures, such as an arrestor hook and wing-folding, are present. As with other USN carrier-based combat platforms, the E-2D is launched by way of catapult and recovered by arrestor cable.
In USN service, the Hawkeye continues to provide real-time Battle Management Command (BMC) / battlespace awareness capabilities in the maritime environment, journeying ahead of the force to undertake assessment and provide a defensive buffer to potential attacks planned against the carrier group. Specialists aboard the aircraft manage various consoles and rely on the powerful suite of systems installed on their aircraft.
The E-2D series was introduced with USN forces on March 27th, 2014 through squadron VAW-125. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was then had that October and first deployments occurred from USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2015. Some 75 total D-models are planned for procurement with four to five examples being featured on each primary USN aircraft carrier.
- Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
- Navy / Maritime
57.74 ft (17.6 m)
80.58 ft (24.56 m)
18.31 ft (5.58 m)
39,904 lb (18,100 kg)
57,541 lb (26,100 kg)
404 mph (650 kph; 351 kts)
34,777 feet (10,600 m; 6.59 miles)
1,684 miles (2,710 km; 1,463 nm)
None. Mission equipment centered on radars, IFF systems, transponders, radio equipment, and SATCOM.
E-2D "Hawkeye" - Base Variant Designation; all-modern avionics suite with new engines and digital glass cockpit instrumentation; inherent air-to-air refueling capability.