12/19/2007 - ST. AUGUSTINE, FL -- The second E-2D Advanced
Hawkeye development aircraft, known as Delta Two, built for
the U.S. Navy by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation,
completed its first flight in just over two hours from the company's
Florida manufacturing and flight test center Nov. 29 followed
by a second flight Dec. 4.
"The first flight of our second development aircraft signals
another major program performance milestone for the E-2 program
and for Team Hawkeye. It's clear by our consistent team effort
that we're focused on delivering to the Navy its arsenal of
21st century network-centric warfare and battle management capabilities
when we said we would," said Tom Vice, vice president of
Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management Command and Control
Programs - Navy for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.
"Team Hawkeye and our Navy program team are performing
in stellar fashion. We are right where we want to be in flight
test. The combination of commitment and communication from the
integrated Navy and industry team is the key to the success
we have seen in this program," said Capt. Randy Mahr, NAVAIR
Hawkeye program manager.
Piloting the test aircraft was Mike Holton, an 18-year Northrop
Grumman experimental test pilot veteran with 25 years of E-2
test pilot experience. Co-piloting Delta Two was 21-year veteran
and the Airborne Early Warnings program's Chief Test Pilot Les
Ryan, who has tested E-2s for over 26 years. Joining them in
the flight was Wyle Weapon System Operator Ray Collazo, an experimental
test weapon system expert with 17 years of test experience.
All three are Naval Academy graduates and flew with Navy E-2
squadrons during their military careers. Collazo and Holton
flew together in VAW-112 and Ryan flew for VAW-114.
During the flight of the program's second system design and
development aircraft, the team conducted a series of air vehicle
tests to evaluate airplane flying qualities, engine response,
and cockpit instruments.
"Our go-forward plan is to fly another flight to check
out engine air start capability, and high angle of attack flying
qualities, and then we will complete the installation of the
weapon system. Once the weapon system is in, we will fly approximately
two hundred flights to evaluate the new radar. And just like
Delta One, which flew its first flight on Aug. 3, Delta Two
flew just like an E-2C," Holton said.
In July of this year, Northrop Grumman was also awarded a $408
million pilot production contract to build three aircraft, and
the keel was laid for the first production aircraft (AA3) on
September 27. The original $2 billion SD&D contract was
awarded on Aug. 4, 2003.
"In late 2001, Northrop Grumman was asked by the U.S.
Navy to build a new Hawkeye. Northrop Grumman's goal was to
deliver a capability that would be a generational leap forward
with new technologies-those that are more adaptable to changing
threats from the enemies of today and tomorrow, and that could
protect our nation and its allies well into the middle of the
century," Vice said.
"The E-2D system gives the warfighter expanded battlespace
awareness, especially in the area of information operations,"
Vice added. "The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye delivers battle
management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor
fusion capabilities in an airborne system. These advances provide
warfighters with the necessary situational awareness to compress
the time between initial awareness and active engagement. The
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will provide joint U.S. forces and coalition
partners' airborne battle management command and control from
the sea, in both over-land and over-water environments."
Vice said the Navy plans to procure at least 75 E-2D Advanced
Hawkeyes, all which are manufactured at Northrop Grumman's Manufacturing
and Flight Test Center in St. Augustine, Fla. Today, more than
one third of all current Hawkeyes are flown internationally
by Japan, Taiwan, Egypt, Singapore and France.
Source: Northrop Grumman Press Release