US Navy deploys new early warning aircraft to Japan

An E-2D Hawkeye from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 flies over Naval Station Norfolk. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s newest E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft will join the forward deployed naval forces in Japan, the service announced Thursday.

The E-2Ds from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 will become part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni in February 2017.

They are replacing the Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, which flies the older E-2C.

The U.S. Navy is also scheduled to begin a phased relocation of CVW-5’s fixed-wing aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni.

These moves are in accordance with the Navy’s strategic vision for the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, a plan to put the most advanced and capable units forward in order to support the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan.

The E-2D is the latest variant of the long-running E-2 Hawkeye series of aircraft, which employs long-range radar and electronic communications capabilities to oversee the battlespace and detect threats beyond the sensor range of other friendly units.

The Advanced Hawkeye’s suite of systems allow it to act as the “digital quarterback” of the fleet, collecting and distributing the tactical picture to command centers and other assets through onboard data processing subsystems.

New features of the E-2D include the A/N-APY9 radar which is capable of both mechanical and electronic sweeping, an “all glass” tactical cockpit, an upgraded mission computer, and upgraded data link capabilities.

The first variant of E-2 series entered service in 1964, making the Hawkeye the Navy’s longest serving carrier-based aircraft.

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