||80' 7 "
||57' 9 "
2 Allison T56-A-427 turboprop engines
2 Pilots and 3 Naval Flight Officers
THE E-2C AIRCRAFT
The squadron’s aircraft, the Northrop Grumman E-2C+ Group II (Navigation Upgrade) “HAWKEYE”, is a twin-engine turbo-prop capable of speeds up to 300 knots and altitudes above 30,000 feet. The E-2C, with its 80-foot wingspan and gross weight of over 25 tons, is the largest aircraft currently operated from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The crew consists of a pilot, co-pilot, combat information center officer, air control officer, and radar officer, who fly the aircraft and operate the complex electronic equipment. This equipment, collectively called the Airborne Tactical Data System, forms an airborne extension of the modern Navy Tactical Data System employed aboard all Navy warships. The heart of the ATDS is a powerful, long-range radar which transmits its energy through the 24-foot rotating antenna dome atop the aircraft. The incorporation of high levels of automation in the target acquisition and identification systems enables the three operators to perform a wide range of functions, allowing each operator to work more efficiently and independently in all operational roles. Contacts detected by radar are analyzed by the crew and data-linked to the Task Force Commander. If a contact is a threat to the force, aircraft can be immediately dispatched to intercept and, if necessary, destroy it. These fighter aircraft are directed by the aircrew using the multitude of radios or by an E-2C to fighter data-link.
Recent aircraft improvements in the E-2C include a new high-speed enhanced processor, high-target-capacity color displays designed to display over 2,500 contacts and reference points, a tactical information distribution system which provides improved secure voice and data communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS) for accurate navigation. Completing the latest configuration improvements is the incorporation of the upgraded NP2000 propeller system. This new system will allow the HAWKEYE to operate effectively well into the 21st century. Featuring 8-bladed composite blades and fully electronic control, the NP2000 boasts increased performance and safety. Furthermore, the plane's navigation system now incorporates dual ring-laser gyros, as well as start-of-the-art GPS.
The E-2C HAWKEYE, in service since 1973, has continued to incorporate improvements to keep pace with technological advances and the changing operational environment. This latest production aircraft, the HAWKEYE 2000, is the result of progressive airframe, propulsion and avionics systems developments over the past twenty years specifically designed to be more cost effective while still providing greater safety and mission capabilities for the aircrew. With its Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), the HAWKEYE-2000 will be able to fully unite and integrate all friendly units operating in the battle space, giving all units and the overall commander unparalleled situational awareness and coordination.