Here’s Everything You Should Know About The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye

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For those into aerospace and defense technology, you would’ve likely heard of Northrop Grumman. If not, you will want to know more about them after seeing their incredible military lineup from the B-2 Spirit to the E-2 Hawkeye. The multinational American company manufacture defense technology planes, many of which have fought in world wars.

Their E-2 Hawkeye is an all-weather all-condition airborne early warning aircraft (AEW). It was produced in the late 1950s as a replacement for the E-1 Tracer. The upgrades featured better radar and radio communications, which made it much more effective during the Vietnam War. After entering the market in January 1964, the E-2 Hawkeye served its purpose well as being the eyes of the fleet for the US Navy. It has an incredible operational history and certainly fulfilled Northrop Grumman and the US Navy very well.

Let’s take a closer look at the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye and everything you need to know.

What Is The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye?

Via: Alan Wilson, Flickr –

Northrop Grumman produced the E-2 Hawkeye as a purposeful plane to be the eyes of the fleet for the US Navy in the Vietnam War. The company E-1 model was quickly becoming obsolete and non-effective due to its insufficient radio and radar communications, which the Navy relied on to avoid attacks and be as efficient as possible.

The E-2 Hawkeye is a high-wing plane, which gave it a great advantage of being able to see down onto the land and the opposition. Each wing was fitted with an Allison T56 turboprop engine as well as a retractable tricycle landing gear. To enhance the engine and landing gear ability, the E-2 Hawkeye also featured a tail look, and a nose gear, which enabled it to land quickly and safely should it need to.

Northrop Grumman wanted to ensure that the E-2 was an efficient detector. Thus, its key feature was its 24-foot rotating radar dome, which carried the plane’s primary antennas that enhanced its long-range radar abilities. No other carrier airborne aircraft features one of these. Thus, it certainly is a stand-out feature that certainly did prove to be worthwhile and effective.

The E-2 could carry five people, a pilot, a co-pilot, and three officers that would be located in the rear. It is a fairly small aircraft, so the weight had to be balanced out fairly to be as safe as possible.

What Was Its Main Purpose?


The company produced the E-2 Hawkeye to fulfill the space for an airborne early warning and control plane, which could send signals to the Navy to detect and track friendly or hostile targets. This technology allowed the US Navy to be more engaged and distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. It served its purpose well and enabled the Navy to detect enemies much farther away than a similar ground-based radar.

The E-2 Hawkeye’s first flight was in October 1960. After testing, the Navy knew it would be an efficient and reliable fit to their airplane force. Thus, it was introduced to the war in January 1964.

During the production years of the E-2 Hawkeye, 313 models were built, all of which served in the Vietnam War and enabled the US Navy to be more efficient in detecting and fighting their opposition.

Several variations of the Hawkeye have been in continuous production since 1960, giving it the longest production run of any carrier-based aircraft.

The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye’s Operational History

Via: PH3 Todd Frantom, Flickr –

The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye first entered the world for its first flight in 1960, yet didn’t get put into action until four years later. Its first real and purposeful flight was in 1964 at NAS North Island. These aircraft were the first variation of the Hawkeye.

Since the Hawkeye has been produced in several variations. For instance, the E-2C’s were produced in the mid-1980s to serve in the Persian Gulf War as well as Operation Desert Storm. The fantastic design of the original E-2 Hawkeye was so to-notch that only a few upgrades were needed in later years.

The E-2 Hawkeye and its several variations have since been sold across the world by the US Federal Government and foreign military sales to countries such as Mexico, Israel, Singapore, Egypt, France, and Japan. They have served their purpose across the world and enabled crews to enhance their downward visibility for fighting and detection purposes.

In our opinion, the E-2 Hawkeye has to be the best and most popular Northrop Grumman aircraft. It served its purpose for the Vietnam War as well as other wars. It is a sophisticated and efficient aircraft that enabled the US Navy and many other crews to act reliably and purposefully during wars and more.

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