The E-2C Hawkeye is the Navy and Marine Corps airborne surveillance
and command-and-control platform, providing battle management and support
of decisive power projection at sea and ashore in a joint architecture.
In addition to current roles, the E-2C has an active and extensive upgrade
and development program to fully prepare it to be a critical element in
an overall joint theater and missile defense program.
The Hawkeye force is keeping pace with changing tactical environments
via two major upgrades: the E-2C Group II upgrade, and the Radar Modernization
Program (RMP). The most advanced Hawkeye variant, the E 2C Group II which
is in production today features:
Extended radar range (40 percent greater than previous E-2 aircraft)
Improved overland detection capability
JTIDS, GPS and voice satellite communications.
The next upgrade, the
Hawkeye 2000, will install a Mission Computer Upgrade and Cooperative Engagement
Capability, enhancing the E-2's capabilities in the multiple threat environment
anticipated in the 21st century. The Mission Computer Upgrade will improve
target detection and tracking, and enable the incorporation of CEC. In
turn, CEC equipped Hawkeyes - the E-2C is the first aircraft in the U.S.
aviation arsenal to incorporate this system - will significantly extend
the engagement capability of surface forces. The CEC equipped Hawkeye is
the key to early cueing of the Aegis weapons system, dramatically extending
the lethal range of the Standard missile against airborne low altitude
low radar cross section targets.
The Radar Modernization Program is developing an advanced demonstration
radar for the Hawkeye that will bring over-the-horizon precision, overland
detection and tracking to the battle group. This, coupled with CEC, will
fully integrate the Hawkeye into the Theater Missile and Cruise Missile
Defense role. This precision tracking capability in conjunction with the
Aegis and Standard missile will allow the battle group to deploy an organic,
theater-wide cruise missile and theater ballistic missile defense umbrella
for protection of high priority defended areas and U.S. and coalition forces.
Additionally, the E-2's systems are fully interoperable with the Airborne
Warning and Control System and ground- based systems so that transition
to a full joint architecture can occur seamlessly and smoothly.
The Navy is ensuring that the E-2C continues as the "eyes and ears"
of the Fleet as it applies the aircraft's capabilities in the integrated
joint, overland, theater-wide air and missile defense environment. Many
of the technological improvements being incorporated in the Hawkeye represent
leading edge improvements not just in the Navy's theater air and missile
defense posture, but in that of all U.S. forces.