Defense Media Network

NAVAIR Fixed-Wing Aircraft Programs

PMA-265, the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office, is responsible for acquiring and sustaining the Growler. A 2015 contract with Boeing for 15 additional EA-18Gs will bring the fleet to approximately 130 aircraft. PMA-265 is also managing the first two Growlers inducted into the Royal Australian Air Force, which are temporarily at NAS Patuxent River to certify Australian-specific software.


P-8A Poseidon

The P-8A Poseidon is replacing the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform, which will work in conjunction with Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle. Derived from the Boeing 737-800ERX airliner, the P-8 offers greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude, open systems architecture, and better sensors than its predecessor.

p-8a poseidon

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to the Bureau of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 replicates the characteristics of an MK-54 torpedo. U.S. Navy photo by Greg L. Davis

The first P-8 was delivered to the Navy in 2012, it achieved IOC in 2013, and is expected to be fully operational by 2018-2019. PMA-290 manages the P-8 fleet, which stands at about 35 aircraft. The Navy expects to buy 117 P-8s, and NAVAIR will oversee Increment 2 upgrades, including high-altitude anti-submarine weapons, and Increment 3, which is to provide net-enabled anti-surface warfare. In early 2016, PMA-290 awarded Boeing a two-year, $2.5 billion contract to manufacture 20 P-8As for the U.S. Navy and the government of Australia followed by a three-year, $276.2 million contract to produce an additional two Lot III P-8As.


E-2C/D Hawkeye

The E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231) is responsible for providing the E-2C Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye with acquisition, logistics, and sustainment. The Northrop Grumman Hawkeye provides airborne early warning, airborne battle management, and command and control functions for a carrier strike group and joint force commander.


An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Wallbangers of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The E-2C is now being superseded by the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Derek A. Harkins

The E-2C became operational in 1973 and was subsequently improved through Group I, Group II, and Hawkeye 2000 updates that modernized information processing systems, radars, workstations, structure, and propulsion elements.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye began development in 2002, attained IOC in 2012, and is in full-rate production. It features state-of-the-art radar with a two-generation leap in capability and upgraded aircraft and information-link systems. The Navy will acquire 73 E-2Ds through 2022.


C/KC-130 Hercules/Super Hercules

The Navy and Marine Corps operate three versions of the Lockheed C-130, which are managed by PMA-207. The aircraft perform a range of missions, from land-based tactical airlift support to aerial refueling.

kc-130j navair

A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules aircraft assigned to the command element of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit takes off from King Faisal Air Base in Jordan June 12, 2013, during exercise Eager Lion 2013. The Navy and Marine Corps operate three different versions of the C-130. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone

The Marine Corps acquired the KC-130T beginning in 1983 as a multi-role aircraft, capable of aerial refueling, ground refueling, and delivery of personnel and cargo. The Marine Corps began replacing/augmenting the KC-130T with the new KC-130J in 2004. The advanced, digitized Super Hercules serves the Marines as an aerial refueler, cargo hauler, and transport. KC-130Js equipped with the Harvest HAWK modular weapons system can perform as multi-sensor image reconnaissance and close air support platforms, capable of launching Hellfire missiles and standoff precision-guided munitions.

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Eric Tegler is a writer/broadcaster from Severna Park, Md. His work appears in a variety...