03 August 2010

E-2D Roll-out Ceremony

Last Thursday I attended a ceremony for the rollout of our Navy’s first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The Advanced Hawkeye is our Navy’s latest version and fourth iteration of the E-2 Hawkeye – a carrier-based, multi-mission, all-weather airborne early warning and command and control aircraft. The E-2 has been the “eyes of the fleet” since it first entered service in 1964; and while the physical characteristics of the airframe have changed very little over the past 50 years, the E-2D features a complete upgrade to the communications and avionics systems that vastly expand the Hawkeye’s capabilities.

One such improvement, and probably the most distinctive feature of the E-2D, is the 24-foot rotodome (antenna) attached to the top of the aircraft. The rotodome does not get many points for style, but it is one of the most important components on the airplane as it now provides our flight operators with a continuous 360-degree scanning capability and the ability to focus in on specific areas of interest.
The APY-9 is the E-2D’s primary sensor and probably the most sophisticated system on the aircraft. It has a surveillance range 250% larger than the E-2C. This state-of-the-art radar provides surface detection up to 200 miles and air detection beyond 250 miles from the surface to 10,000 feet. These enhancements allow the E-2D to assume a range of new missions from blue water surveillance to providing theatre air and missile defense in the littorals (it’s the first aircraft to detect cruise missiles launched from land), and battle management and control over land.

The new Advanced Hawkeye was delivered to Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO ZERO (VAW 120) where the “Greyhawks” will now learn more about the aircraft to unlock its true potential before training other Sailors to fly and operate the new equipment.
Although the journey has just begun and there is still much to learn, this is a great moment for naval aviation that we can all be proud of. The E-2D is a real game changer for our Navy; indeed, there’s no doubt about it.
All the best, JCHjr


YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman said...


I suppose I am incredibly naive. But, this is the 4th generation of HAWKEYE, structurally it is little changed. Yet, its functionality (in some respects) is 250% greater?

Why can't we do the same with our ships?

YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman

NVYGUNZ said...

YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman,

I'd say we do with our Aegis ships anyway. That is why we have different "flights". If you follow the DDG 51 class, they get up a substantial "functionality" upgrade about every 15 ships (give or take), specifically in their combat systems.

The ADM might have a better answer though...


ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Battle Yeoman, if you look at what we have done with the Aegis program - comparing LAKE ERIE's capbilties today with TICONDEROGA's capabilities in 1984 - I think we have achieved the same type of significant functionality increase within the same hull. Vastly more powerful combat system (software upgrades), much more capable missile (SM2 vs SM3) and significantly improved launcher (MK 41 VLS vs MK26 dual rail).
Same concept and similar results. All the best, JCHjr

YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman said...

Admiral, NVYGUNZ,

To be sure, the DDG51 program can be viewed as evolutionary? Is it then fair to say that the DDG51 program and it's evolutionary vice revolutionary development is a better model than the development we've attempted in the LCS and ZUMWALT programs?

I am sure it is still too soon to tell. But, still, couldn't the next DDG class we buy in numbers not be such a radical leap; rather, just a logical incremental step forward? Is it fair to say that the sub community is out in front of the surface community in that they have already learned this lesson with their SEAWOLF and now VIRGINIA class subs?

YN2(SW) Battle Yeoman