Navy Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft (AEWC)
The Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye is the fourth major iteration of the classic AEWC platform debuted in 1964 with the United States Navy.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the United States Navy.
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.
August 2016 - It was announced that Japan has ordered a second E-2D Hawkeye platform.
December 2017 - An E-2D "Advanced Hawkeye" completed its first aerial refueling action when it was refueled by an accompanying KC-130 tanker aircraft in testing. The Advanced Hawkeye form is slated to entered USN service sometime in 2020 and, among its many improvements, will be an in-flight refueling capability.
January 2019 - The Japan Ministry of Defense has earmarked funds for five upcoming fiscal years to procure up to nine Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye platforms.
April 2019 - The United States Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a five-year $3.2 billion contract to buy twenty-four E-2D Hawkeye platforms.
October 2019 - France is set to order four E-2D Hawkeye AEW aircraft for its navy service. The service has operated the E-2C "Hawkeye 2000" version with the 4 Flotile.
March 2020 - Development and testing continues on an upgraded radar for the E-2D.
Status Active, In-Service
[ 0 Units ] : Northrop Grumman - USA
France (announced); Japan; United States
- Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
- Navy / Maritime
57.74 ft (17.6 m)
80.58 ft (24.56 m)
18.31 ft (5.58 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Northrop Grumman E-2D production model)
39,904 lb (18,100 kg)
57,541 lb (26,100 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Northrop Grumman E-2D production model)
2 x Allison (Rolls-Royce) T56-A-427A turboprop engines developing 5,100 horsepower each and driving eight-bladed propeller units.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Northrop Grumman E-2D production model)
404 mph (650 kph; 351 kts)
34,777 feet (10,600 m; 6.59 miles)
1,684 miles (2,710 km; 1,463 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Northrop Grumman E-2D production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Mission equipment centered on radars, IFF systems, transponders, radio equipment, and SATCOM.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Northrop Grumman E-2D production model)
E-2D "Hawkeye" - Base Variant Designation; all-modern avionics suite with new engines and digital glass cockpit instrumentation; inherent air-to-air refueling capability.
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