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E-2 Program Prototypes COTS Navigation System Providing Fleet With New Capabilities

NAVAIR Release

Press Release Number: E200405191

Release Date: 5/19/2004

Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Public Affairs. The Naval Air Systems Command has successfully prototyped a commercial navigation system currently installed in two of the U.S. Navy's E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. The GNS-530, originally produced for commercial aviation applications by Garmin International of Olathe, Kansas, will bring dual utility to the Hawkeye cockpit by simultaneously satisfying Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) enhanced display requirements while also providing precision approach to the E-2C Fleet.

The possibility of incorporating the GNS-530 navigation system into the E-2C was explored following a NAVAIR analysis of alternatives to identify a system that could provide precision approach capability to the E-2C fleet quickly and cost effectively and address lessons learned during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Two aircraft were prototyped with the system. The first, based in Atlanta, Ga. with the Night Wolves of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron Seventy Seven (VAW-77), one of two E-2 Reserve squadrons, demonstrated that the GNS-530 could be successfully installed quickly and cost efficiently. The second prototype, representative of Group II aircraft in the Fleet, was based in Norfolk, Va. with the Greyhawks of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Hundred Twenty (VAW-120). This aircraft was selected for Carrier Suitability tests with the system at NAS Patuxent River, where testing verified its ability to withstand the rigors of operating in a carrier environment. These two proof-of-concept demonstrations proved so successful that both prototyped aircraft are presently utilizing the system.

Additional test events at Patuxent River are planned this summer with the Hawkeye 2000 variant of the aircraft, which will be focusing on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) certification and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Fleet installations of the GNS-530 in E-2C Hawkeye aircraft are anticipated to begin in 2005.

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