E-2C Hawkeye airborne warning and control aircraft Manufact…

E-2C Hawkeye airborne warning and control aircraft

Manufacturer:

Northrop Grumman [NOC] is prime contractor for the $51 million E-2C now in production. The latest version of the E-2C, Hawkeye 2000, produced since 1999 under a $1.4 billion five-year multiyear contract, includes mission computer upgrades and Raytheonís [RTN] Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) hardware. E-2C is powered by two Rolls-Royce T-56-A427 turboprop engines, with a maximum speed of more than 300 knots and a service ceiling approaching 30,000 feet. Lockheed Martin [LMT], Raytheon [RTN], L-3 [LLL], and Britainís BAE SYSTEMS are working with Northrop Grumman under that companyís $49 million system development and demonstration contract for the E-2C radar modernization program (RMP), launched Jan. 8, 2002, to improve the APS-145 electronics housed in the planeís 24-foot diameter rotating radome. The Advanced Hawkeye effort is also aimed at incorporating naval theater air and missile defense functions into the aircraftís current mission capabilities set.

Characteristics:

Northrop Grumman is producing 21 Hawkeye 2000s for the Navy, with the third aircraft delivered in April. Low-rate production for RMP-equipped Advanced Hawkeye may begin in 2006, with initial operational capability set for 2009. The Navy may buy 75 Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. In November 2002, the program received $69 million more, propelling a more than $2 billion system development and demonstration effort. The Advanced Hawkeye includes Lockheed Martinís advanced UHF radar, an electronically steerable antenna by L-3 Communications [LLL].

Combat Use:

Hawkeye 2000, which the Navy began receiving in 2001, went to sea for the first time aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) for service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Advanced Hawkeye is to arrive at the end of the decade.

Foreign Users:

International customers include France, which is purchasing one Hawkeye 2000, and Taiwan, seeking to buy two Hawkeye 2000s. Japan and Egypt are funding fleet upgrade programs to modernize their E-2Cs. Egypt is also buying one additional new aircraft to augment its current fleet of five E-2Cs, part of a $174 million contract. Northrop Grumman notes the Hawkeye 2000 "export configuration," does not include CEC and satellite communications capability.

Analysis:

The E-2 Advanced Hawkeye RMP and the E-2C "reproduction" Hawkeye are listed in the Navyís Acquisition Category IC programs outline for 2003. Between now and the end of the decade, the Navy plans to use E-2C Advanced Hawkeye and RMP program funding to develop software associated with missions including cruise and ballistic missile defense, littoral warfare, combat identification including specific emitter identification, multi-source integration, and the joint effort called single integrated air picture--for which the E-2C is expected to contribute key data. Important technologies associated with RMP and the Advanced Hawkeye effort include the space-time adaptive processing capability, electronically scanning array, solid-state transmitter, and high-dynamic range digital receivers. The Navy in 1999 ordered 21 Hawkeye 2000 aircraft, with a planned initial operational capability in 2004; that date was accelerated in light of the global war on terrorism and the conflict in Iraq this spring. Last December the RMP effort proceeded under a $22.9 million contract. During system development and demonstration of RMP, Lockheed Martin expects to produce five new radar systems. A full-rate production run could follow for 75 E-2C aircraft by 2020. RMP would provide improved radar range and data quality for CEC in the theater air and missile defense role. The Advanced Hawkeye will act as an airborne node for CEC supporting complex air defense missions, leveraging RMPís electronically-steered UHF radar system that will be able to detect and track small targets with enough accuracy to enable remote engagement by surface ships, such as those with Lockheed Martinís Aegis Weapon System, such as aboard the USS Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) and the USS Ticonderoga-class (CG-47).