Eyes of the Fleet: US Navy E-2 Hawkeye

The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye series has served the US Navy as an all-weather, tactical airborne early warning and control system (AEW&CS) for more than 55 years. As Tom Kaminski reports, recent upgrades will keep it in service for decades to come

Hawkeye 08 LEAD cropped.jpg
VAW-116 ‘Sun Kings’ E-2C, BuNo 165649, is one of 27 Hawkeye 2000 variants delivered to the US Navy between 2002 and 2009.
US Navy/Lt(jg)Toby Rollenhagen

Developed in response to a 1956 requirement for a carrier-based aircraft that could carry an Airborne Tactical Data System (ATDS) to “provide early warning, threat analysis, and control of counteraction against air and surface targets”, the Hawkeye continues to serve as an airborne surveillance and battle management command and control (BMC2) platform. Its ability to detect and track targets, process and transmit data, and control engagements also allows the aircraft to be tasked with secondary roles such as air traffic management, search and rescue, communications relay, and drug interdiction.

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