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: 

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.


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