E-2 Hawkeye

Notes: This aircraft made its debut as the E-2A version in 1964. The E-2 is a naval AWACS-type aircraft, small but powerful in its assigned role. Though it caries no offensive or defensive armament, it is greatly feared by enemy forces due to its powerful search and tracking radars, able to pick up most aircraft, ships, and even some ground forces within a three million cubic mile area in its latest incarnations. The airframe is the same as the C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft, but the E-2 is distinguished by the numerous aerials on the fuselage, wings and tail, and of course, the large 7.3-meter saucer-shaped radome above its fuselage. (This radome is also airfoil-shaped, allowing it to help provide lift for the aircraft.) The Hawkeye’s primary role is that of an AWACS aircraft, but it has secondary functions as a surveillance platform, strike and intercept controller aircraft, search and rescue guidance, and communications relay aircraft. In addition to the US Navy, the E-2 is used by Japan, Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, and France. (It is rumored that Israel has made some unspecified modifications to her Hawkeyes, but what these modifications are is unknown.) All these other countries fly E-2C versions.

The first version to enter service was the E-2A, which arrived in the fleet in 1964, and served until 1967, when it was replaced by the E-2B model. 59 were built in all. The aircraft was sophisticated for the time, with small powerful computers to coordinate all functions of the aircraft and its equipment. The primary system of the E-2A was the ATDS (Airborne Tactical Data System), consisting of automatic detection radar and a memory and datalink system, as well as the aforementioned computers. This was tied to the NTDS (Naval Tactical Data System, which transmits the ATDS data to the flagship, task force, and even to the nearest Naval command headquarters, if necessary and they are in range. The E-2A has five crewmembers: a pilot and copilot, and three operators for the ATDS system. The E-2A is capable of in-flight refueling, but the crewmembers do not have ejection seats; they must bail out manually. A problem of the E-2A was lack of capability of its radar over land; it has a very hard time detecting ground targets or even low-flying aircraft overland.

Though successful in its role, further upgrades were deemed necessary, and work on the E-2B version began quite soon after the E-2A entered service. Upgrades began in 1969. Most E-2Bs were simply modified E-2As, and 51 such modifications were made. The E-2B is distinguished primarily by much more powerful computer with more storage capacity, able to store the profiles of a large amount of enemy aircraft in its memory, as well as control much more of the battle picture. The radar was not given much of an upgrade, and still has the problems of degraded coverage overland.

The E-2C was the big upgrade for the Hawkeye; it resulted in internal changes as well as external physical changes to the aircraft. There were actually several versions of the E-2C, delineated by several upgrade steps both minor and major. The first E-2Cs were designated the Omnibus I Hawkeyes; these aircraft arrived in the early 1970s, and had major upgrades to the radar, computers, IFF, and passive listening/detection devices. The nose had to be altered, as well as the boat tail; in addition, many new antenna fairings appeared on the fuselage, wings, and tail surfaces. Earlier Hawkeyes had a radome which could be raised and lowered about a meter for easier storage of the aircraft on board ships; on the E-2C, the radome was to be lowered for maintenance purposes only. The E-2C is capable of tracking over 600 targets, and controlling over 40 intercepts or strikes. At first these E-2Cs were equipped with an AN/APS-120 radar, but these were replaced with the AN/APS-125 radar in 1978, which finally gave the Hawkeye reliable overland radar detection and control capability. In 1984, the Omnibus II Group 0 modifications arrived; chief among these modifications was again in the radar (the AN/APS-138), which now had the capability to operate in high-jamming and electromagnetic interference environments. It was this model that first attracted the attention of most of the foreign governments which now operate the Hawkeye.

The Omnibus II Group I upgrade, arriving in 1988, was primarily an engine upgrade; the former twin 4600-horsepower turboprop engines were replaced by new 5100-horsepower engines. This was necessary, as the weight of the aircraft increased with every upgrade in electronic performance, as did the power requirements of the electronics and the radar. These engines also have a lower fuel consumption/power ratio. Other improvements were antijam antennas for the radios and sensors, improvements to the avionics cooling system, a better instrument panel for the pilots, better cockpit lighting, and a new AN/APS-139 radar system was installed which doubled the tracking capability of the aircraft. Eighteen new E-2Cs were built to this standard, and the other Hawkeyes in the fleet were later upgraded to this configuration.

The Omnibus II Group II upgrade is a massive aircraft upgrade; not all Hawkeyes have yet been modified to standard, though the goal is to have all E-2Cs up to this standard, if not greater (see below) by 2010. Chief among these upgrades are a new AN/APS-145 radar and associated equipment, tracking systems, and computers. This system gives the Hawkeye a fully automatic tracking and search capability, even overland. The area of radar scanning is increased by 96%, target recognition and tracking by 200%, and targets able to be displayed at once by 1000%. The equipment operators have largely "glass-cockpit"-type displays, including color displays. GPS and satellite communications have been added. The aircraft has a new, more accurate IFF system, able to better detect "false squaks" and pick out enemy aircraft which are the same model as friendly aircraft. The system is also able to detect jamming of the IFF band. The Omnibus II Group II uses the new JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Display System); this allows the Hawkeye to interface directly with friendly aircraft, ships, and ground units, including Air Force AWACS aircraft. Group II(N) aircraft, a further upgrade of the Group II, adds an improved navigation suite. The Group II(M) aircraft further enhance the multifunction displays of the equipment operators and add an even more powerful computer with more memory. Group II(C) aircraft increase the Hawkeye’s ability to defend itself with more powerful ECM capability; in addition, the pilots have direct access to the satellite communications equipment in the cockpit, and the equipment cooling system is further improved.

The E2C+ is a minor upgrade of the E2C Omnibus II Group II aircraft, characterized primarily by a change to 8-bladed propellers (previous models had four-bladed propellers). These propellers increase engine performance and are quieter than the old propellers, both inside and outside the aircraft. Propellers made of a composite material are also being experimented with, but whether these will be fitted to existing aircraft is unknown at this time. They are, however, lighter and stronger than metal propellers.

Since the E-2 is expected to be serving the US Navy well into the 21st century, more upgrades are planned for the Hawkeye. This program is currently known as Hawkeye 2000. This upgrade calls for a greatly upgraded mission computer, which is also smaller, lighter, and requires less power than earlier E-2C computers. The interface between ships, aircraft in the area of operations, and ground units will be near-total, using the new CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability). Operational testing began in 2001; whether any have been used in war zones is unknown. France has also expressed interest in Hawkeye 2000, and the administration says that France will get them. Japan and Egypt will not get new Hawkeye 2000s, but they will be given kits to upgrade their existing Hawkeyes. It is believed that Israel is already flying E-2Cs that are up to the Hawkeye 2000 standard, though theirs are an independent development.

Beyond the Hawkeye 2000 upgrades lies the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Details on this aircraft are sketchy, but are said to include a two-generation leap ahead in radar capability. Upgrades to increase supportability, maintenance, and readiness are planned. Though the E-2D will look essentially like an E2C from the outside, inside it will be a new aircraft, built from new production rather than modified from existing airframes. The interior layout will be rearranged to reflect the more compact nature of the new computers, ELINT and ECM gear, and associated equipment. A fourth equipment operator will be added to help manage the increased capability. Full "glass cockpit" displays for the equipment operators as well as the pilots will be standard aboard the E-2D. These aircraft are reportedly already being built and tested, but not expected to be in fleet service until 2011. It should be noted that the stats below for the E-2D are to a large extent educated guesses.

Twilight 2000 Notes: There are a precious few Omnibus II Group II Hawkeyes flying, but most are Omnibus II Group I aircraft, with a few Omnibus II Group 0 aircraft still hanging on. France and Egypt do not fly the E-2. Israel’s Hawkeyes are already up to Hawkeye 2000 standard by the Twilight War, but the US Navy’s Hawkeye 2000s were never built, and of course neither were the E-2Ds.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

E-2A

$28,973,100

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

60

Radar

Shielded

E-2B

$29,262,831

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

60

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I (Early)

$29,555,459

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

60

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I (Late)

$30,095,324

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group 0

$30,396,276

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group I

$34,337,000

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group II

$32,327,500

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group II(N)

$33,862,000

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group II(M)

$34,200,620

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C Omnibus I Group II(C)

$37,914,750

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

52

Radar

Shielded

E-2C+ (All)

$38,040,750

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

56

Radar

Shielded

Hawkeye 2000

$38,421,157

AvG

750 kg

23.85 tons

5

56

Radar

Shielded

E-2D

$42,943,120

AvG

900 kg

24 tons

6

60

Radar

Shielded

.

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

E-2A/B/C (Omnibus I Early)

818

250 (90)

NA 69 5/3 50/30

7450

4768

11275

E-2C (Omnibus I Late/Group 0)

900

260 (90)

NA 72 5/3 50/30

7450

4768

11275

E-2C Omnibus I Group I/Group II

1230

355 (90)

NA 98 5/3 50/30

7450

3255

11275

E-2C+ (All)/Hawkeye 2000

1285

371 (90)

NA 102 5/3 50/30

7450

3404

11275

E-2D

1344

388 (90)

NA 107 5/3 50/30

7450

3578

11275

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

E-2A/B/C Omnibus I (Early)

Advanced IFF, RWR, Short-Range ECM, Short-Range Radio Jamming, Track While Scan, Target ID, ELINT Gear

440/795m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

E-2C Omnibus I (Late)/Group 0/Group I

Advanced IFF, RWR, Short-Range ECM, Short-Range Radio Jamming, Track While Scan, Target ID, ELINT Gear, Look-Down Radar, Secure Radios

440/795m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

E-2C Omnibus I Group II/E-2C+

Advanced IFF, RWR, Short-Range ECM, Short-Range Radio Jamming, Track While Scan, Target ID, ELINT Gear, Look-Down Radar, Secure Radios, Auto Track, GPS, Satcom Gear, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

440/795m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

Hawkeye 2000

Advanced IFF, RWR, ECM, Short-Range Radio Jamming, Track While Scan, Target ID, ELINT Gear, Look-Down Radar, Secure Radios, Auto Track, GPS, Satcom Gear, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Deception Jamming

440/795m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

E-2D

Advanced IFF, RWR, ECM, Short-Range Radio Jamming, Track While Scan, Target ID, ELINT Gear, Look-Down Radar, Secure Radios, Auto Track, GPS, Satcom Gear, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (16), Deception Jamming

440/795m Hardened Runway

None

None

None