Aircraft Can Serve As Fleet Information Hub Through Improved
Three new E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft arrived at Naval Air
Facility Atsugi, Japan to join Carrier Airborne Early Warning
Squadron (VAW) 115 February 28. The improved E-2C Hawkeye 2000
carries advanced capabilities over its predecessor in the areas of
detection, processing, identification, communication and
navigation. Their arrival, along with 24 newer F/A-18E Super
Hornets in the past two months, is part of several recent upgrades
to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 making it the most powerful and capable
airwing in the Western Pacific region and the U.S. Navy.
According to Capt. Ross Myers, commanding officer of CVW 5, this
upgrade goes beyond increasing just the battle group's efficiency.
"The capability that the Hawkeye 2000 brings to Carrier Air Wing 5
is more than just the squadron," said Myers. "It brings to the
entire air wing capabilities that we have never had before and in a
greater scope it brings to the joint security cooperation between
the United States and the Government of Japan in defense of Japan
and Japanese self defense forces a greater capability and lethality
for the strike fighters."
Key among the advances is the cooperative engagement capability
upgrade which enables the Hawkeye to serve as the fleet's
information hub, fusing and distributing information from sources
such as satellite and ship-borne radar. This enhanced technology
provides better data links to ships conducting ballistic missile
defense operations at sea, expanding the reach of U.S. Navy
maritime operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
VAW 115's maintenance officer and naval flight officer Lt. Cmdr.
Bill Selk has worked with the E-2C Hawkeye for over a decade and
feels this new upgrade will play a vital role in CVW 5's mission.
"From the outside both airplanes look almost identical, but from
the inside it brings a whole new level of capability for us," said
Selk. "It has a few new displays and a few new systems that will
really enhance our situational awareness and will help us convey
that to the battle space."
The Hawkeye 2000's arrival was no surprise to the squadron.
According to Cmdr. Chris Martin, VAW 115's commanding officer, the
squadron had an ample amount of resources to make the transition a
simple one. "We started about six to eight months ago. We started
looking at our training requirements and began planning," Martin
said. "Also we have maintenance training teams coming from the U.S.
and as well as our fleet replacement squadron to help us transition
to the new airplane."
As for the maintainers, the transition shouldn't place too much
change in how they handle required maintenance. "Most of the
systems are the same with the exceptions of the electricians and
avionics technicians," said Selk. "There will be some new systems
for them to learn and I know they are excited to get their hands on
them and show us what they can do with them."
ANN Salutes Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brock A.
Taylor, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan.