Well, Carrier may have left one with the impression that the air wing was composed solely of Hornettes, but this month’s Air & Space magazine (official publication of the National Air and Space Museum) thinks otherwise with a feature article:

E-2s, the electronic eyes of the fleet, have been in production longer than any military airplane in U.S. history. That is the great irony of the Hawkeye. Although the airframe first flew almost 50 years ago, the E-2C plays a uniquely pivotal role in the fighting doctrine of today’s modern military.

For many years, the E-2 was naval aviation’s version of the pleasant girl in high- school who was everybody’s friend but never got asked to the prom.

For those of us who hail back to the 70’s and 80’s, that’s glossing over just a tad what our reception was in some quarters…

Light on sex appeal, the Hawkeye was ignored by the fighter jocks, who, as the expression goes, like to fly at 1,000 miles per hour with their hair on fire. Times have changed. The E-2 has shown what it can do in shooting wars, and as members of the Hawkeye community have risen in the naval hierarchy, the airplane’s reputation has gone up accordingly. “We go through training exercises side by side with [Hornet pilots], so they’re used to us,” says Carmen. “They know that we understand how airplanes fly-that they can’t turn on a dime or fly without fuel. So they like hearing from us. We’re like an extension of them. We just fly slower than they do.”

Rest of the article here.

3 Comments

  1. Ah, doing the hard work so the youngsters have a place at the table. BZ to you and your fellow NFOs and pilots who stuck it out.

    Seems your speech has some real meat when you talked about not forgetting where you came from.

  2. XBradTC

    Uh, just off the top of my head, I can think of a military plane that has been in production since the 1950s. Herk, anyone?

    BTW, I stole that picture of a Shrikes Hornet for my desktop. Any provenance on that pic. It’s the awesome.

  3. Pretty much figured that there had to be a qualifier that fell out in the editorial process. That said, E-2 will continue in production for at least another decade or more.

    Re. the photo — no problem as it is in the public domain.

    – SJS

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