The first East Coast squadron to receive the E-2B Hawkeye in 1968 became the first U.S. Navy squadron to receive the latest iteration of the venerable Hawkeye. During a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on March 27, Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 (VAW-125) Tigertails became ready for tasking with the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.
“This is a revolutionary jump in capabilities.”
The Tigertails are the first Navy squadron to operate the Advanced Hawkeye, which is the newest and most technologically advanced variant of the long-serving E-2 airborne early warning command and control (AEW&C) platform. “This is a revolutionary jump in capabilities,” said Capt. Todd Watkins, commander, Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing, in a Navy statement.
The Navy expects the E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to be instrumental in how battle management command and control will be conducted in the future. E-2D Hawkeyes are envisioned as sweeping ahead of air strikes with their powerful radars and keeping carrier battle groups out of harm’s way. “The E-2D serves as the eyes of the fleet. If it’s out there, we will see it,” said Watkins.
“The E-2D serves as the eyes of the fleet. If it’s out there, we will see it.”
Advanced technology such as a new radar, all glass tactical cockpit, new mission computer and tactical workstations, and modernized communications and data link suite have all been added to the E-2D. These additions will make it capable of performing multiple missions. The Advanced Hawkeye will have the ability to coordinate concurrent missions as they arise during a single flight. True 360-degree radar coverage will mean that missions such as airborne strike, ground force support, rescue operations, and managing a reliable communications network capable of supporting drug interdiction operations can all be performed by the E-2D.
For their part, the Tigertails are ready for the challenges of operating the latest and greatest. “We were very excited to be the first squadron to receive the [Advanced] Hawkeye,” said Lt. James Beaty, a naval flight officer who has worked extensively with the E-2D. “It’s been a challenge, but I’ve enjoyed learning everything this aircraft is capable of.”