BETHPAGE, N.Y., 10 July 2009.Northrop Grumman's second E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, known as Delta Two, has transitioned to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., as part of the carrier suitability phase of testing, in preparation for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. The first E-2D System Development and Design (SDD) aircraft, Delta One, transitioned to Pax River on 30 May and testing began shortly thereafter, led by the U.S. Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20.
"The joint Advanced Hawkeye team has been putting the two SDD aircraft through a rigorous flight test program at Northrop Grumman's Manufacturing and Flight Test Center in St. Augustine, Fla.," says Jim Culmo, vice president of Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management Command and Control programs for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "This next phase of testing – carrier suitability – will be the first opportunity to get the E-2D out on the carrier."
Designed and built for the U.S. Navy, the E-2D will utilize its newly developed AN/APY-9 Electronic Scan Array (ESA) radar, Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), and off-board sensors, in concert with surface combatants equipped with the Aegis combat system to detect, track, and defeat cruise missile threats at extended ranges. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will also provide maritime domain awareness including airspace control for manned and unmanned assets, monitoring of surface movements, civil support, and command and control of tactical forces. The E-2D's new AN/APY-9 radar, designed and built by a radar team led by Lockheed Martin, represents a two-generational leap in radar technology. "The AN/APY-9 can see smaller targets and more of them at a greater range than currently fielded radar systems," Culmo added.
To ensure that aircraft operating on carriers are compatible, all naval aviation assets undergo carrier suitability testing prior to joining the fleet. The bulk of the testing involves catapult and arrested landing structural tests as well as the interoperability between the aircraft and the carrier.