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Navy League 2024: E-2D Advanced Hawkeye brings latest command-and-control technology to US fleet

A US Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye demonstrating its aerial refuelling capability. (Northrop Grumman)

The E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft has been the eyes of US Navy carrier strike groups for more than 60 years. The newest variant, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, brings the latest technology into the platform that can confront threats anywhere in the world, Janice Zilch, Northrop Grumman's vice-president for multi-domain command and control, told Janes on 5 April, ahead of the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2024 global maritime exposition in National Harbor, Maryland, from 8 to 10 April.

Unlike previous variants of the platform, the E-2D is equally effective over the sea, littorals, and land. It has also evolved into an airborne battle management command-and-control system. “We like to call ourselves the offensive and defensive co-ordinator of the carrier strike group,” Zilch said. The aircraft is designed to seamlessly analyse, fuse, and distribute multi-domain information into a command-and-control system of systems. The Advanced Hawkeye supports all domains at all levels of war, she said.

The E-2D is a very mature platform that is also very modern. The production line has achieved a 100% on-time delivery, said Zilch, and continues to deliver new technology to help the Advanced Hawkeye outpace the latest threats.

The platform is continuously upgraded through Delta System and Software Configuration (DSSC) builds. DSSC 3 has been rolled out to the fleet, adding an aerial refuelling capability that increases flight endurance to more than eight hours, she said. It also added enhanced APY-9 radar capabilities for operations in certain electromagnetic environments and improved tracker and identification of friendly aircraft performance.

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