The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft is to be equipped with a head-up display (HUD) for the first time in its near-60-year service life.
Seen about to launch form the deck of a US Navy aircraft carrier, the E-2D is to receive a head-up display under the HECTR upgrade programme. (US Navy)
The carrier-borne AEW&C platform, which is currently the only US Navy (USN) aircraft not to be fitted with a HUD, will undergo the upgrade via the service’s Hawkeye Cockpit Technical Refresh (HECTR) programme.
“For decades, we have improved the weapon system of the [E-2D] Advanced Hawkeye, but the cockpit has remained largely unchanged [from the earlier E-2C variant],” Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said. “HECTR solves some of our obsolescence issues and brings new navigation and communication capability. With the aerial refuelling-capable variant of the E-2D as our new baseline, HECTR makes it safer for our crews who must land on the aircraft carrier after many hours of being on station. HECTR is an essential upgrade that brings the E-2D Hawkeye Cockpit into the 21st Century.”
Announced on 14 September, the USD34 million requirements phase for the engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) part of the HECTR upgrade contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman on 3 August.
“The HECTR is a critical redesign of hardware and software components of the current E-2D Integration Navigation, Controls, and Displays System (INCDS) as well as an integration of the cockpit solution into the weapon system. HECTR will use an E-2D Mission Computer Alternative, currently under development at PMA-209 [Air Combat Electronics Program Office], as part of its design. The cockpit redesign will allow the platform to achieve Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management Required Navigation Performance Area Navigation capability,” NAVAIR said.