Full story here:  Flight-Test Program Accelerates For U.S. Navy’s E-2D

Couple of items worth noting:

Within three years, the U.S. Navy’s fleet will have fielded the technology for precisely locating small, flying targets. The target set embraces some of the Navy’s latest nightmares, including the next-generation of stealthy – sometimes supersonic – cruise missiles.Moreover, with the introduction of space-time adaptive processing (STAP) software, the hybrid APY-9 electronically scanned array (ESA) radar on board the new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will be able to pick those elusive flying targets out of a background of rough terrain and urban sprawl, a far different mission than the overwater detection capability of earlier Navy airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.


The goal is "one piece of metal, one track," Mahr says. "That means everyone is looking at a single picture. I’m going to have server capability on the E-2D that can maintain some historical piece of the picture. Other parts are going to be resident in ships and with ground forces. I am the central airborne piece."

Pretty much the goal since Cadillac I, but…

When cued by other intelligence sources, the ESA begins looking ahead and behind the mechanical scan so it can focus on a given piece of airspace to pick out small objects.  "I can track a fast target," Mahr says. "Whether I can acquire any other object is just a matter of how much [radar energy] I put on that particular target" and for how long.   "I may need to see more things [outside the range of the new radar]," Mahr says. "As we move into the world of unmanned and remote vehicles, we’re going to have a large amount of sensor data available. How we’re going to operate with those unmanned vehicles is not fully understood. In some way, every airborne platform will be integrated. That challenge is coming at us."

N-G also just won the BAMS-UA contract . . . things that make you go hmmmm…..

A few details have drifted out of the aerospace industry about the capability. So far, the Advanced Hawkeye’s radar has operated at only half power. Yet the radar’s range already equals that of the E-2C’s conventional radar and the volume of airspace it can monitor has tripled. Even a layman’s extrapolation would put the new E-2D’s range at least at 250 mi. More likely it’s limited only by the aircraft’s radar horizon.

Got our attention, that one did…

Electronic and network attack, for example, are not part of the Advanced Hawkeye’s portfolio.   "Electronic attack is like [the E-2D] carrying bombs; there’s no reason for it," Mahr says. "Other elements in the network do that."  A primary attraction of AESA radars is 2-3 times longer range than single aperture radars. They are also able to focus an array’s energy on enemy sensors and antennas for jamming, placing false targets and even serving as a conduit for the digital attack of integrated communications networks.   So far, at least, the E-2D won’t be operated with those missions in mind, but there are still some interesting electronic warfare applications.

Think "burn through"…

Well, a long time ago when YHS was but a mere pup and the E-2C was still new we wondered what those who flew the TBM-3W and AD-3/5W’s would think of our mighty war steed.  Looking at the Delta, we kinda get the feeling we know — a wee bit of envy but a whole lotta pride looking at our offspring…


  1. JoeC

    Man, talk about tech lust. I’d love to be a tech rep for that. Too bad the skills are 30 years out of date and the clearance died an entropied death moons ago, but still…. Its a beautiful piece of electronic and aeronautic engineering.

  2. Dick S.

    As someone who went from Willy Victors (EC-121K to you kids) to a plankowner in VAW -125 with E2-A’s, this is like science fiction. Even with the new technology in the E-2A, it was often unreliable and there were many times when we moles wished we had a grease pencil for intercept work.

    Interesting news today when it is also announced that the P-3 will be replaced by a drone.


  3. Dick:

    First off, always glad to hear from the folks who flew the classic platforms 🙂 (heh, as a Group 0 guy, guess I’d better be careful with that “classic” moniker…)
    Funny thing about the “C” – because of the way our scopes were designed we could very easily (and often did) use grease pencils on the scope face whereas, as I understand it, on the A and B that would cause all kinds of “issues” with the mesh on the scope face for the light pen’s predecessor…

  4. Vmaximus

    I take it more blades on a prop = better?

  5. Dick S.


    Just like 4 vertical stabilizers are always better than 2 or 3. I had an old aircraft commander in WV’s say that he always wanted to divide the number of engines by 2 and have an even number as the answer.

    Story I heard was that a Grumman honcho saw a prototype E-2 taxiing and it had 3 vert. fins; he said it didn’t look right; put on another. Hence, the dummy one.

    SJS: some of the older controllers made a plastic template to put over the scope face, used the grease pencil on it and eyeballed the intercepts. I ran one of the early intercepts with Link 4 and an F4-J. Worked fine, except it inverted the F-4. Wasn’t quite perfected yet.

  6. Steeljawscribe

    Vmax: In this case, most definitely. Less vibrations = longer airframe and component life and the blades themselves are much easier on the maintenance folks than the old 4-blade props that I suffered with which, of course, were an order of magnitude better than the 4-blade steel props on the early A/B models of the e-2 that Dick S. flew…)

    Dick: Think we had most of the bugs worked out of the L-4 as I have quite a few coupled intercepts in my log. Interetingly enough, they aren’t evenly distributed between the sister VF’s with one VF having a decided bias over the other. In a zip-lip environment with tons of Bears/badgers/backfires and other flying FOD it sure was nice to greet joining fighters with “Dolly’s in the air” see the 2-way link come up and off they’d go on their run while you dealt with the lead nose (fill in the blank) or manual AIC’s with A-7’s and the KA-6 tanking bucket brigade. Well, those were the days…

  7. 5 years later than it should have been…..but hey who’s counting. All this technology was ready when I was at NSAWC……… 👿

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