E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Completes First Operational Assessment

E-2D "Delta 1" BuNo 166501, one of two E-2D test aircraft, is pictured during a test sortie 8/13/08
Photo: USN

11/13/2008 - The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye completed its first Operational Assessment ahead of schedule at Northrop Grumman's St. Augustine Manufacturing Center, St. Augustine, Fla., Oct. 28.

A team comprised of Fleet aviators assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, NAS Patuxent River, Md., and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School, NAS Fallon, Nev., conducted 10 flights over a period of four weeks to complete the assessment.

“The Advanced Hawkeye team has reached another significant milestone as scheduled,” said Capt. Shane Gahagan, Hawkeye, Advanced Hawkeye and Greyhound (PMA-231) program manager. “The completion of this first Operational Assessment gets us closer to delivering this aircraft to the warfighters as planned.”

Operational Assessments are conducted to verify that aircraft system’s capability, suitability and design will be fully responsive to the future needs of the carrier air strike group.

Evaluations such as these are conducted prior to the Navy’s Milestone C decision to enter low-rate initial production. The E-2D program is scheduled to reach Milestone C in spring 2009.

The test team implemented real-world flight events comparable to the missions the E-2D will execute when the aircraft is integrated into the Fleet. During the 10-flight assessment period, the group of Fleet aviators looked at the aircraft’s capabilities across multiple mission types.

“We planned and executed events as part of an Operational Assessment that would test the E-2D’s capability in an operationally relevant environment,” said Lt. Granville Wright, Operational Test director, VX-1. “We looked at the E-2D’s capability to perform different warfare and mobility missions.”

According to Cmdr. Scott Porter, E-2D Deputy Integrated Product Team lead, Operational Assessment flights were finished ahead of schedule due to “an exceptional 92.3 percent aircraft availability rate.”

“The fact that we finished two weeks early is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the Advanced Hawkeye integrated test team,” said Janice Zilch, E-2D Integrated Product Team lead.

Currently, VX-1 is analyzing the data and observations collected during the assessment period and will provide the Navy with an independent review of any risks to the program as it continues development and advances toward initial operational test and evaluation.

The E-2D integrated test team will continue testing both system development and demonstration aircraft, Delta One and Delta Two, at the St. Augustine facility until the aircraft arrives at NAS Patuxent River, in 2009, where flight and operational testing will be completed by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 and VX-1.

Source: USN Press Release

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