The aircraft unveiled today is the first of two test aircraft to be built under the nearly $2 billion system demonstration and development contract awarded in 2001 to Northrop Grumman. According to Mahr, the Navy plans to procure a total of 75 Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.
While the external appearance is similar to the E-2C, the systems and capabilities which the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye contains are completely redesigned. At the heart of the aircraft is the new radar, the APY-9, designed and built by Lockheed Martin Corporation. It can "see" smaller targets and more of them at greater ranges than the E-2C. The new rotodome, developed by L-3 Communications Randtron Antenna Systems, contains the critically important, continuous, 360-degree scanning capability, while adding an electronically scanned array. This system allows operators to focus the radar on selected areas of interest.
Hawkeye operators will have new radar system workstations, integrated satellite communications capabilities and other tools to better manage the battle space and provide warfighters with expanded situational awareness and information to complete their missions.
An additional new feature of the E-2D is the state-of-the-art glass cockpit that replaces prior-generation Hawkeye displays and avionics systems. One of the advantages is that pilots can also serve as weapon system operators.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will provide Joint U.S. forces and coalition partners airborne battle management command and control from the sea, in both the over-land and over-water environments.
The Navy and Northrop Grumman team will begin flight testing this fall in St. Augustine with further testing at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. Navy squadrons will be equipped with Advanced Hawkeyes as they are delivered beginning in 2011.
(Full release here)