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Tigertails Become First U.S. Navy Squadron to Operate the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

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.

E-2C Hawkeye

An E-2C Hawkeye of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 (VAW-125) flies with two F-14 Tomcats of Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32), ca. 1985. The Tigertails were among the first squadrons to operate the E-2B and E-2C. On March 27, they became the first squadron to become operational with the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. National Museum of Naval Aviation photo

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.

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

U.S. Navy sailors assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1), move an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye outside the hangar at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, March 25, 2014. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate

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.”


Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...