E-2D test aircraft "Delta One" lifts off for
it's first flight with test pilot Lt. Drew Ballinger,
Northrop test pilot Tom Boutin and weapon system operator
8/3/2007 - A Navy and Northrop Grumman integrated test team
flew the skies of St. Augustine, Fla., in Delta One - the first
of two Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft - for the first time Aug.
Advanced Hawkeye flight test pilot Lt. Drew Ballinger along
with Northrop Grumman flight test pilot Tom Boutin and flight
test weapon system operator Zyad Hajo, lifted off shortly before
11 a.m. and flew for approximately 1.3 hours. The flight crew’s
role was observation, the gathering of data from air vehicle
systems, and the aerodynamic responses in flight.
“The flight today marks the transition from design, development
and ground test, to a tangible - an aircraft’s demonstration
of its capability for the future fleet mission,” said
Capt. Randy Mahr, NAVAIR Hawkeye program manager.
This new edition airborne early warning command-and-control
aircraft is equipped with the future resources critical to the
Navy’s network-centric strategy.
With radar that extends the carrier battle group’s line-of-sight,
the Advanced Hawkeye has a 360-degree array with added electronic
scan system and lock-down feature, which allows concentration
on targets of potential threat. “It will sweep the mission
frontlines to provide critical intelligence ahead of our strike
aircraft,” said Mahr.
The aircraft’s glass cockpit system displays equip the
pilot and co-pilot with the ability to switch screens from flight
to crew mission displays. This allows four - rather than the
traditional three - Naval flight officers, to perform the aircraft’s
command-and-control missions and expand information conveyed
to the battlegroup commander.
“From the drawing board to today’s flight this
has been a complete team effort with the Navy and industry.
The team was ready for this mission today. Flying today was
an important milestone – we are one step further along
the road to get this needed capability to the warriors who launch
in to harms way and play for keeps,”, said Mahr.
“This is an exceptionally exciting time for our team
as we enter a new phase and begin the intense work of flight
test,” said Cmdr. Roger Ligon, commanding officer of Air
Test and Evaluation squadron 20 (VX-20).
Two test aircraft are being built under the system development
and demonstration contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Delta One rolled off the production line at the corporation’s
St. Augustine manufacturing facility and began ground test there
in the spring. Delta Two has since joined it in ground test
at the facility.
“This aircraft’s first flight is the realization
of phenomenal teaming. A team comprised of program office, industry
and test experts, committed to delivering this critical, capable
centerpiece of the future carrier flight deck,” said Mahr.
Testing will continue at the St. Augustine facility until the
aircraft arrives at NAS Patuxent River in early 2009, where
flight and operational testing will be completed by VX-20 and
The Advanced Hawkeye will begin arriving in E-2 squadrons in
2011 and is expected to serve the Fleet well in to the middle
of the next century.
Source: USN Press Release by Drema Ballengee-Grunst