An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft capable of aerial refueling landed at Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 9, officially marking the arrival of this upgraded aircraft to the U.S. Navy fleet.
“This is an important day for naval aviation as we continue to increase our capabilities and maintain our competitive edge in the skies,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, “This capability will extend the endurance of Hawkeyes, increasing the Navy’s battlespace awareness and integrated fire control – both from the air and the sea.”
The aerial-refueling-capable E-2D joined the “Greyhawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120.
“Aerial refueling capability is a game-changer for the E-2D community and future operations in the high-end fight,” said Cmdr. Scott Wastak, VAW-120 commanding officer. “We will now begin to train instructor pilots and refuel with several different Navy and Air Force tanker aircraft, including F/A-18s.”
VAW-120 is only the first step in rolling out this new capability. The Navy will transition two operational fleet squadrons to aerial refueling capable E-2Ds by 2020.
VAW-120 is a Fleet Replacement Squadron attached to Airborne Command & Control and Logistics Wing commanded by Capt. Matthew Duffy. Its mission it to train naval aviators, naval flight officers, Navy aircrewmen and qualified maintainers to safely and effectively operate E-2 and C-2 aircraft.