Northrop's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye approved for full-rate production
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has successfully passed initial operational testing and has been approved for full-rate production, the Naval Air Systems Command said Feb. 8.
A report issued by NAVAIR's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River deemed the tactical early warning aircraft "suitable and effective," NAVAIR said. The Northrop Grumman-built E-2D Advanced Hawkeye can be flown from the Navy's aircraft carriers.
During the aircraft's initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), NAVAIR sought to determine how well the aircraft could perform required missions, and also evaluated the aircraft’s readiness for fleet introduction scheduled for 2015.
During the testing phase, VX-1 deployed the E-2D to several locations to collect flight test data, NAVAIR said. Tests were held at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev. VX-1 participated in aerial combat training exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during Red Flag, as well as the Black Dart exercise at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif. Black Dart is designed to test the military’s ability to counter enemy unmanned aircraft systems.
The testing indicated an increase in combat effectiveness due to the E-2D’s ability to track small fighter size targets in difficult environments, NAVAIR said. The data showed significant improvements in radar and mission systems performance in overland and littoral scenarios.
Initial operational capability for the E-2D is planned for 2015, NAVAIR said.
William Welsh is the managing editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @WilliamWelsh12.