Northrop Grumman has unveiled a proposed glass cockpit upgrade for the E-2C Hawkeye in a move that would effectively add an airborne early warning (AEW) tactical operator, while simultaneously addressing the growing problem of instrument obsolescence.
The company has integrated a future cockpit concept into its Hawkeye 2000 display demonstrator, which simulates the real-time AEW data feed to the pilot and co-pilot. Using window partitioning, radar data, together with primary flight, navigation and engine displays, is screened on three notional 300x360mm (12x14in) liquid crystal displays supplied by L3 Communications.
"Over the last six to nine months, we've had a lot of discussions with customers. What they want is a more advanced cockpit," says Gary O'Loughlin, Northrop Grumman director international business development.
The displays would replace the E-2C's conventional dial instrumentation, which is essentially unchanged since 1968 and mostly no longer produced. The introduction of AEW data into the flight deck also effectively adds a fourth operator, supplementing the three tactical console positions.
Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the upgrade to the US Navy, which is considering making the new tactical cockpit part of the baseline Advanced Hawkeye development, planned to start in 2003. The company is also looking at retrofit opportunities and at offering a simpler two 150x200mm display suite for E-2C operators not requiring tactical data and the C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery aircraft.
Source: Flight International