Competition to supply the United Arab Emirates with an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is becoming intense as next year’s selection date nears, and Northrop Grumman is highlighting the benefits of its E-2C Hawkeye contender. With more than 100 examples in service worldwide, the aircraft has notched some 26 years of service, which some might consider suggests that the E-2 is an aging design.
However, the Hawkeye has been and continues to be the subject of upgrades that have kept it at the leading edge of AEW&C technology. For example, current production aircraft include the APS-145 UHF radar with integrated advanced electronic warfare systems and extensive connectivity. Planned additions to general AEW&C missions include support for ballistic missile defense operations.
It is significant that the U.S. Navy has long-term plans for improvements to the Hawkeye and that implies that approved foreign operators will also benefit from the extended radar range and other upgrades that could be tailored to country-specific defense needs.
Battle proven over strife-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, Hawkeye has also proved its worth in a peacetime emergency when no fewer than six U.S. Navy aircraft coordinated the rescue effort for people caught up in flooded New Orleans. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina knocked out much of the city’s infrastructure.
The Navy Hawkeyes were among the first on the scene. Their radar and communications suites were quickly used to monitor airspace, locate stranded victims, direct rescues, identify space for safe landings and provide direction for aircraft activity in the area.