US Navy’s aerial refueling Hawkeye completes first flight

First aerial refueling equipped E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Photo: Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Navy’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling (AR) recently completed its first flight.

The aircraft is built by Northrop Grumman under a 2013 engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) contract award.

Northrop Grumman designed, developed, manufactured, and tested several sub-system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability.

This capability will allow the E-2D to provide longer on-station times at greater ranges, extending its mission time to better support the warfighter.

“The Northrop Grumman aerial refueling team continues to put outstanding effort into bringing this much-needed capability to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and our warfighters who rely on it,” said Capt. Keith Hash, program manager, E-2/C-2 airborne tactical data system program office (PMA-231).

The upgrades installed to support aerial refueling include probe and associated piping, electrical and lighting upgrades, and long endurance seats that will enhance field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions.

“First flight is an exciting day in the journey from concept to an aerial refueling equipped E-2D,” said Jane Bishop, vice president, E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman. “This takes the E-2D to another level, which will bring more combat persistence to the U.S. and our allies.”

The aerial refueling program will modify three aircraft for testing planned through 2018. Production cut-in and retrofit plans are scheduled to begin in 2018.

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