The first of four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has entered production at the new production plant in St. Augustine, Florida, the company has confirmed.
Bringing together what was previously spread out over several buildings, the 121,390 square metres (370,000 square foot) assembly hall can currently produce eight aircraft a year, to be increased to a maximum of 12 Hawkeyes in 365 days if needed.
13 E-2Cs in service
The Delta Hawkeyes are equipped with APY-9 Radars, and will join 13 JASDF E-2Cs already flying with 1st Hiko Keikai Kanshitai (squadron) out of Misawa Airbase, although Tokyo is considering locating the new E-2Ds at a different location.
US Navy Advanced Hawkeye
Apart from the Japanese military, the US Navy ordered 51 E-2Ds, with 22 of them delivered so far. The first operational cruise of the Delta occurred last year, with VAW-125 “Tigertails” squadron on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The Japanese Advanced Hawkeyes will be land-based only, with the first planned to arrive in 2018.
The US Navy said goodbye to the Grumman EA-6B Prowler during an airshow at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island near Seattle over the weekend. A Prowler of electronic attack squadron VAQ-134 ‘Garudas’ performed a ceremonial fly-over, marking the end of close to 45 years of EA-6B Prowler service in the US Navy.
The distinctively shaped EA-6B flew for the first time on 25 May 1968, entering service just three years later. The aircraft was derived from the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft and 170 were produced. The type played a key role in every major conflict the US was involved since, jamming transmission and locating radar sources.
Its final cruise aboard a US aircraft carrier ended in November last year. During the deployment, the Prowlers of VAQ-134 were used in allied operations over Iraq and Syria.
Being the final Prowler squadron, VAQ-134 now also says its goodbye to the imposing Prowler. The type is being replaced with the Boeing EA-18G Growler. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) still operates the Prowler.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) is to gain four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft. The US State Department notified US Congress of this likely sale worth 1.7 billion dollar on 1 June 2015.
The Delta Hawkeyes are equipped with APY-9 Radars and Tokyo buys two spare T56-A-427A engines plus modifications and other stuff like spare parts. “The proposed sale of E-2D AHE aircraft will improve Japan’s ability to effectively provide homeland defense utilizing an AEW&C capability. Japan will use the E-2D AHE aircraft to provide AEW&C situational awareness of air and naval activity in the Pacific region and to augment its existing E-2C Hawkeye AEW&C fleet,” a statement reads.
The JASDF already operates 13 of the C-version Hawkeyes, flying with the 1st Hiko Keikai Kanshitai (squadron) out of Misawa AB. They were purchased between 1983 and 1994. Later the force was augmented by the larger Boeing E-767 flying with Hiko Keikai Kanseita out of Hamamatsu. The Boeings are being updated again. The location of the four new Hawkeyes, Japan already decided to ask for them in November 2014, has not been confirmed yet.
The US Navy will replace the aging Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound with the tilt-rotor HV-22 Osprey as carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft, US sources confirmed on Friday 27 March 2015.
Manufacturers Bell and Boeing, who have developped the Osprey together, are set to provide the Navy with 44 HV-22s for a price of 86.8 million a piece. The first Ospreys are planned to enter service in 2020, with the final to be in production in 2024.
Unlike the MV-22 assault tilt-rotor in use with the US Marine Corps, the USN HV-22 will have an external fuel tank, adapted SATCOMs, a modified shipboard landing system and other stuff not incorporated on the Marine Ospreys. The HV-22s are likely not to be armed.
Grumman produced 17 C-2As and 39 improved C-2A(R) for the US Navy’s need to air supply its fleet of aircraft carriers from land-based locations. The core of these Greyhounds is similar to the E-2 Hawkeye the US Navy uses as Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (“radar plane”). The first Grumman C-2 rolled out of the factory in 1965. Since 1987 only the improved C-2A(R)s stayed in service, with the remaining 36 aircraft going through a Service Life Extension Program to keep them flying until 2027 if necessary.
The Greyhound delivers up to 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of cargo to the US Navy’s aircraft carriers, and regularly flies in passengers or a combination of personnel and cargo. The cabin can be adapted to make the plane serve as a medevac asset. It can even been used to airdrop supplies or serve as a paratrooper platform.
Compared to the Greyhound, the basic V-22 can deliver more goods: 14,990 pounds (6,800 kg). But the V-22 has a shorter range than the C-2: 1,010 miles (1,627 km) on the Osprey to 1,490 miles (2,400 km) on the Greyhound. The planned addition of an external fuel tank will give the HV-22 additional range, but will likely decrease the amount of cargo the plane can carry. The new US Navy COD will also be slower than the C-2 with an cruise speed of 241 knots (277 mph or 446 kmh) at sea level for the Osprey to 251 knots (289 mph or 465 kmh) at 28,700 feet for the Greyhound. The only real advantage of the Osprey is that it lands and take offs vertically.
With Boeing producing the air frame, Bell Helicopter final assembles the V-22s at its Amarillo plant in Texas where Ospreys for the US Marine Corps and US Air Force are rolling down the line at a rate of 25 aircraft this year.
The new Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Early Warning and Control aircraft of the US Navy will embark on its first ever operational cruise on 9 March 2015. The “Tigertails” – the nickname of VAW-125 – will be trying to keep the aircraft carrier group formed around the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) out of harm’s way, when the task force leaves Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
The E-2D has a new radar, new radios, a new mission computer, integrated satcom, a flight managment system and better engines. It has new avionics in a so-called “glass cockpit” (all digital stuff) and is able to refuel in mid-air. Although its first flight was in August 2007, it has taken a while for the first USN unit to become operational on the type.
One of the new features is that the E-2D is now able to for example help direct anti-air missiles to intercept incoming cruise missiles, as was shown in a test in 2009. Navy sources say that the Hawkeye crews should even be able to help target medium-range air-to-air missiles to their targets, once launched by other navy fighter jets. The new APY-9 radar should make it able for the Hawkeye to detect new stealthy fighters, like the Russian-made Sukhoi PAK-FA.
The Northrop Grumman E-2D is a further development of the Grumman E-2 already in service since 1964. The US Navy has ordered 50 aircraft so far, with 15 aircraft delivered. VAW-125 is the first operational squadron, flying five E-2Ds. Each USN AEW&C squadron will operate four or five Advanced Hawkeyes in the near future.