Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The E-2C Hawkeye is the US Navy carrier-based tactical warning and control aircraft providing early warning and command and control functions to the carrier strike group. Additionally the E-2C carries out surface surveillance, strike and interception control, search and rescue guidance, and communications relay.
The key element of the carrier-based E-2C aircraft is its radar, the AN/APS-145, housed in a 24-foot rotating dome above the fuselage. The command and control equipment also plays a vital role. The aircraft combat debut occurred during the military campaign of Vietnam. The improved E-2C, current model, saw combat for the first time in the mid 1980s during strikes against terrorist bases in Libya.
The first model E-2 was deployed in 1964 replacing the E-1 early warning aircraft aboard the US Navy aircraft carriers. The E-2C, introduced in 1973, working together with AEGIS-equipped warships provide total air mass superiority over the American fleet. In addition to the US Navy, variants of the E-2C Hawkeye are also flown by the Egyptian Air Force, Japan Self Defense Air Force, Royal Singapore Air Force, Taiwan Air Force, Mexican Navy and the French Navy.
The E-2C was deployed successfully during the Gulf War in 1991 directing both air interdiction and combat air patrol missions over Iraq. It supported Operations Northern and Southern Watch over Iraq, and NATO operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia, including Operation Deny Flight. Recently, in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Hawkeyes provided critical airborne battle management and command and control functions supporting numerous close air support and battlefield air interdiction missions.
The Hawkeye 2000 is an upgraded model of E-2C featuring a powerful COTS computer, new advanced control indicator set workstations (also employed in other platforms such as destroyers and submarines), the Navy's Cooperative Engagement System (CEC), and an integrated satellite communications capability. These improvements increase the US Navy ability to monitor and control theater of operations activities. The CEC capability will mean better coordination between the Hawkeye and other platforms (ships, fighter aircraft etc.) achieving unprecedented performance.
The US Navy has ordered 21 new-built Hawkeye 2000 aircraft (12 already delivered as of August 2004) and new production aircraft for France and Taiwan will be Hawkeye 2000 standard. Japan and Egypt are upgrading their E-2C to the Hawkeye 2000 configuration.
The US Navy received the first one aircraft in October 2001. The US Navy Hawkeye 2000 aircraft saw combat for the first time in 2003 during Iraqi Freedom military campaign in Iraq.
The first E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft ordered by Japan made its first flight on 14 July 2004. Nine out of 13 existing E-2Cs from Japanese Self-Defense Force were planned for upgrade to the Hawkeye 2000 standard. The modification work is being carried out in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.; Toshiba; and Yamada Corporation with Northrop-Grumman supplying the engineering and modification kits.
Northrop-Grumman delivered the first Hawkeye 2000 of two ordered by Taiwan in August 2004 with the second aircraft scheduled for delivery in October the same year. Taiwan Air Force will use these aircraft to monitor and control activity within the airspace and seas surrounding the island nation.
From summer 2004, the entire US Navy's E-2C fleet was being refitted with the new NP2000 eight-blade propeller which is more efficient, this translates into lower fuel consumption, and more quiet than traditional four-bladed propellers. In addition, NP2000 reduces aircraft vibration achieving a higher degree of flight comfort. E-2C fitted with Hamilton-Sundstrand NP2000 propellers were designated the E-2C+ Hawkeye.
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