On Oct. 21, 2020, as the video in this post shows, the US Navy’s Airborne Command & Control community celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye’s first flight.
Since replacing the E-1 in 1964, the Hawkeye has been the “eyes of the fleet.” Since its combat debut during the Vietnam conflict, the E-2 has served the Navy around the world.
Hawkeyes directed F-14 Tomcat fighters flying combat air patrol during the two-carrier battle group joint strike against terrorist-related Libyan targets in 1986. In the early 1990s, E-2s provided airborne command and control for successful Coalition Air Operations during the first Arabian Gulf War. Directing both land attack and combat air patrol missions over Iraq, the E-2 Hawkeye provided air control for the shoot-down of two Iraqi MiG-21 aircraft by carrier-based F/A-18s in the early days of the war. Later during the 1990s, E-2s supported Operations Northern and Southern Watch over Iraq. E-2s also supported NATO operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia, including Operation Deny Flight. Recently in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, E-2 Hawkeyes provided critical Airborne Battle Management and Command and Control functions supporting numerous Close Air Support and Battlefield Interdiction missions. E-2s also have worked extremely effectively with U.S. law enforcement agencies in drug interdictions operating from bases both the United States and several foreign countries.
The E-2C became operational in 1973 and surpassed one million flight hours in August 2004. The aircraft has undergone several upgrades to its active and passive sensors, engines and propellers.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform. It features a state-of-the-art radar with a two-generation leap in capability, upgraded aircraft systems that will improve supportability and increase readiness and aerial refueling capability. Thanks to the E-2D the “eyes of the fleet” will see further and wider, equipping the warfighter for ever-evolving threats.
Photo credit: U.S. Navy
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