E2-D HAWKEYE

August 29, 2012


The specifications contained in this blog are from the following sources: 1.) Machine Design Magazine, The Fleet’s New Eyes: by Stephen J. Mraz, March 22, 2007 2.) Northrop-Grumman Aerospace Systems,  E2-D Hawkeye and 3.) Defense Industry Daily,  E2-D Hawkeye:  The Navy’s New ASACS,  May 1, 2012.

 The other day I was running an errand with our oldest grandson and noticed a gentleman from our neighborhood.  “Hello Ed”.  ( Not his real name but good enough for our purposes. )  Our conversation was somewhat brief until I asked about his son, Mark.  Mark is a Navy pilot, stationed on an aircraft carrier now assigned to the Middle East.  I discovered in our conversation that Mark had just received his “ticket” to fly the E2-D Hawkeye.   I knew the 2 – D was in the AWACS category but did not know that much about the plane itself.  If you have read my blogs in the past you know that I served four (4) years in the Air Force and have a great interest in all types of aircraft.  I did a little research on the E2-D and here is what I discovered.

The aircraft is shown in the JPEG below.   

     

Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats.  Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies. E-2C Hawkeyes began replacing previous Hawkeye versions in 1973; they fly from USN and French carriers, from land bases in the militaries of Egypt, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and Taiwan; and in a drug interdiction role for the US Naval Reserve. Over 200 Hawkeyes have been produced.

The $17.5 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program is now structured to build 75 new aircraft with significant radar, engine, and electronics upgrades in order to deal with a world of stealthier cruise missiles, saturation attacks, and a growing need for ground surveillance as well as aerial scans. It looks a lot like the last generation E-2C Hawkeye 2000 upgrade on the outside – but inside, and even outside to some extent, it’s a whole new aircraft.    With a two-generation leap in radar sensor capability and a robust network enabled capability, the Advanced Hawkeye will deliver critical, actionable data to joint forces and first responders. These advances provide war-fighters with the necessary situational awareness to compress the time between initial awareness and active engagement.  Some of the new advanced features are as follows:

  • A completely new radar featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities
  • Fully Integrated “All Glass” Tactical Cockpit
  • Advanced Identification Friend or Foe System
  • New Mission Computer and Tactical Workstations
  • Electronic Support Measures Enhancements
  • Modernized Communications and Data Link Suite

Other new developments are:

  • True 360-degree radar coverage provides uncompromised all-weather tracking and situational awareness
  • Open architecture compliant, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based hardware and software enables rapid, cost-wise technology refresh for consistent leading-edge mission tools
  • A true FORCEnet enabler – A force multiplier through network enabled capability, Advanced Hawkeye is the gateway to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael G. Mullen’s vision for a “1,000-ship navy.”
  • Multi-mission flexibility ranging from command and control through missile defense to border security.

The  basic configuration for this marvelous aircraft is as follows:

 

The rotodome and antenna will spin at 4, 5, or 6 rpm.  The new antenna can also be electronically steered while the dome and antenna are stationary to scan a particular area of interest.  There is also a hybrid mode in which the antenna is electronically steered while spinning.  This increases the system flexibility, according to Northrop Grumman.  One very intriguing system is the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe).  You can imagine needing this system.

Radio, like radar, is often limited to line-of-sight transmission.  Just as the E2-D’s altitude gives it great radar coverage, it also puts the plane in radio contact with practically the entire surface fleet and its aircraft.  With this being the case, the plane often relays communications, issues instructions, and maintains data links.  The communications equipment consists of six ARC 210 radios that transmit voice or data, in the clear or encrypted, at 30 to 400 MHz. 

The three flight officers in the back will get 21 inch full-color displays that let them see in excess of 500 ground and air tracks.  They will also talk to each other over a digital, fiber-LAN intercom.  To speed the workload, the cockpit will be equipped with three 17-inch displays that can show a variety of flight and engine data, including everything the flight officers in the back can see.  This will let the copilot, a rarity among carrier-based planes, handle mission tasks. 

With added equipment and weight comes the need for more electric power.  The twin-engine   E2-D will have updated gearboxes and carry larger, oil-cooled Hamiton-Sunstrand generators.   The engines will be turning an eight-blade prop, which first saw service on E2-Cs.  The 13.5 foot diameter props make less noise and vibration than the previous four-bladed designs.  They also create much less drag when feathered.  

One more view:

 All-in-all, this is one extremely functional machine.  My grandson calls this a really mean ride.

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