By any measure, fifty years is remarkable. Birthdays, reunions, wedding anniversaries – in all of these the marker set at fifty years is justifiably prominent and noteworthy.
For aircraft — especially those in carrier aviation, it is signatory.
This month the E-2 Hawkeye will celebrate 50 years, starting with the first flight of the prototype, the YW2F-1 (BuNo 148147) on 21 October 1960. That was the start of a run of aircraft that looks to continue well into the first quarter of the 21st Century in the form of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. From that first flight through today, the Hawkeye has shared the flight deck with the A-4, A-6, A-7,C-1, EA-3B, EKA-3B, EA-6A, F-4, F-8, F-14, KA-6, S-2, S-3, and WF/E-1B – all of which are now sitting in boneyards. It currently shares real estate with a variety of Hornets, the soon to be replaced EA-6B Prowler and the venerable COD and first cousin, C-2A(R) Greyhound. Still to come are the F-35 and UCAV-N. Such longevity is testimony as much to the inherent flexibility of the original design as it is to budgetary realities and bureaucratic bias. Nevertheless, such milestones should not pass with little or no recognition – and of course, around these parts that is not an option. So, between now and the 21st, we will be posting a variety of articles, beginning with updates of an earlier series on Project CADILLAC, that started it all. Along the way I hope that a new appreciation for the aircraft and those who have and currently are flying and fixing the Hawkeye will emerge.
Stay tuned — there’s much more to come…
Crossposted at Steeljawscribe.com
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