The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $34 million contract for the requirements phase of the engineering, manufacturing and development of the E-2D Hawkeye Cockpit Technical Refresh (HECTR).
The HECTR is a critical redesign of hardware and software components of the current E-2D integration navigation, controls and displays system (INCDS) as well as an integration of the cockpit solution into the weapon system.
HECTR will use an E-2D mission computer alternative, currently under development at PMA-209, as part of its design. The cockpit redesign will allow the platform to achieve communication navigation surveillance/air traffic management required navigation performance area navigation capability.
“The fleet is very excited to be a part of the development of HECTR. This program demonstrates outstanding teamwork between the program office, industry and our fleet operators,” said Capt. Michael France, Commodore, Airborne Command & Control and Logistics Wing. “For decades, we have improved the weapon system of the Advanced Hawkeye, but the cockpit has remained largely unchanged. HECTR solves some of our obsolescence issues and brings new navigation and communication capability.”
With the AR variant of the E-2D as our new baseline, HECTR makes it safer for our crews who must land on the aircraft carrier after many hours of being on station.
With the addition of the aerial refueling (AR) capability, the aircrew will experience greater workload and fatigue. The HECTR program goals will substantially change the pilot and co-pilot experience in the cockpit.
The current INCDS cockpit includes many of the platform’s top readiness degraders as well as obsolete components. Additionally, current architecture of the INCDS cockpit will not support the E-2D mission in the delta system software configuration (DSSC) 6 timeframe. For these reasons, PMA-231 began in fiscal 2020 to pursue a cockpit redesign, securing the ability to reallocate Multi-Year Procurement II (MYPII) savings to the critical cockpit upgrade through the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) cycle.
What is more, the E-2 is the last fixed-wing carrier based aircraft that lands on the aircraft carrier without a heads-up display (HUD). Landing can be a difficult task for pilots due to nearly imperceptible wing dips that occur as a result of the lack of a readily available horizon reference and the slow “inside-outside” scan pattern required by the legacy cockpit design.
The HECTR program design will also include exportable variants for potential foreign military sales partners.