The Navy’s new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft will be
outfitted with improved versions of the Cooperative
Engagement Capability system.
the E-2D is deployed, the designation probably will be
USG-3B. The changes include revamped software to
meet the Navy’s Open Architecture standards, enabling
easier integration of new sensors and combat systems.
The upgraded CEC systems will be able to interface
seamlessly with older CEC systems as well as accept
When the Northrop Grumman-built E-2D enters
service, CEC will benefit from its APY- 9 active electronically scanned radar, built by a team led by
Lockheed Martin. The radar is housed in the same
dish-shaped dome that contains the APS-145 radar in
the E-2C, but does need to rotate to search the skies.
“Generally, the E-2D is going to provide a 300-percent
increase in actual volume of area of protection over the
E-2C,” said Capt. Shane Gahagan, an E- 2 flight officer
and program manager for the Hawkeye. “That’s over land
and over water. You’ll be able to see farther, see a smaller
target and it’s going to be very integral to NIFC-CA.
“The ability to see more at a farther range and to get
that information called forward to other sensors and
shooters reduces the kill chain dramatically,” he said. “It’s
going to be a two-generational leap in the capability of
the E-2C and its impact on integrated fire control is
going to be a very positive thing.”
“The E-2D’s mission computer is architected to
allow for quick insertion of capability,” said Jim
Culmo, vice president of Airborne Early Warning and
Battle Management for Northrop Grumman.
The E-2D is equipped with the communications
capability and data links of the E-2C, including Link
11, Link 16, satellite communications and radios in the
HF, VHF and UHF frequencies. It is externally similar to
an E-2C, but its interior fuselage has been redesigned to
accommodate the weight of its mission systems and
cooling equipment, said Culmo.
The E-2D is 4,500 pounds heavier than the E-2C.
Raytheon’s reduction in the weight of the CEC systems
helped to keep that increase in check.
The other major change is a full “glass cockpit,” Culmo
said. “That includes the capability to allow the co-pilot to
be a tactical operator” and relieve some of the workload of
the three naval flight officers in the rear fuselage.
The E-2D began its flight test program with one aircraft in August 2007 and mission system testing on the
second E-2D in November 2007. The Navy completed
an operational assessment late last year, for which a
report is due this month. The assessment was designed
to reduce the technical risk of the program early in the
process to smooth the way for the operational evaluation, scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012.
Gahagan said the operational assessment was completed by the two E-2D test aircraft in 12 flights in four
of the scheduled six weeks, working through the critical operational issues.
“Flight test is always a challenging environment no
matter what program you’re in,” he said. “But we’re on
track and we’re meeting all the challenges as they pop up.
“We don’t expect any surprises,” Gahagan said. “We
view [operational assessment] as a confirmation of
where we are with the program. It’s been very successful in getting aircraft off the ground and the systems
Gahagan said he expects that the Navy in March will
recommend the E-2D for low-rate initial production
(LRIP) and procurement of advance materials for a second LRIP batch of aircraft. The 2009 budget approved
funds for two E-2Ds.
According to the Program Executive Office Tactical
Air Programs, the amount has not been finalized because
the buy was reduced from three and the allocation of
funds still is being calculated.
The current E-2D program of record calls for the
procurement of 75 E-2Ds through 2022. The Navy
inventory currently includes 64 E-2Cs and three TE-
2C training versions. E-2C production will end later
this year at a total of 205 aircraft.
The E-2D has met all of its program milestones to
date and is on track, Gahagan said.
“Get this thing out to the fleet, because it’s going to
have an impact on integrated fire control for the Navy,”
As for Raytheon’s CEC, the company has been concentrating on fielding its planned improvements and is
reluctant to discuss plans for a next-generation version.
“We have some ideas on what we can do in the
future to improve the system,” Speake said. “But we
can’t be giving away all our secrets.” ■