The US Navy Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft has successfully achieved initial operational capability (IOC), paving the way for its operational deployment.
The completion of IOC indicates that the navy's first operational squadron, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, is now manned, trained, equipped and ready to commence operations with the latest variant of the E-2 aircraft.
E-2 / C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231) programme manager captain John Lemmon said: "The E-2D can detect smaller targets at longer ranges, over water, in littoral areas and over land in dense clutter environments, giving significant increases in flexibility and situational awareness to the warfighter beyond the capabilities of previous variants of the Hawkeye.
"As an E-2 pilot of 24 years, I've experienced first hand the benefit these aircraft bring to the fleet."
A latest version of the E-2 aircraft platform, the new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye comes with improved AN/APY-9 radar and other latest aircraft systems that aim to boost supportability, while improving the aircraft's readiness.
Boasting a new communications suite and a glass cockpit, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will join the existing F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler.
Together with the E-2C, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye offers command and control capabilities that assist in organising multiple missions such as air warfare, strike warfare, surface warfare and search and rescue operations.
The onboard sensors help in scanning the environment and then process the data with its tactical mission computer, which will be distributed to command centres and other assets via on-board communication subsystems.
Furthermore, the aircraft will assist the navy in humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
Image: The US's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy.