The Navy is deploying a squadron Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to Japan next month, the service announced on Thursday.
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 Tigertails will forward deploy to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni as a component of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 in February from Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
The squadron deployed as part of the first Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) deployment with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.
The Tigertails will replace the VAW-115 Liberty Bells who will head to Point Mugu, Calif. and transition from their current E-2C Hawkeyes to the newer platform.
“The U.S. Navy is also scheduled to begin a phased relocation of CVW-5’s fixed-wing aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni,” read a statement from the service.
“The relocation is scheduled to start the second half of 2017.”
The relocation of the squadron from Norfolk to Iwakuni is part of the Pentagon’s Pacific rebalance that is putting the most modern equipment in the Western Pacific.
“These moves are in accordance with the Navy’s strategic vision for the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, a plan to put the most advanced and capable units forward in order to support the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the region,” the service said in the statement.
The E-2D is set to be a central node in the Navy’s emerging networked warfare concept and described as a “quarterback” for a carrier strike group by commander Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker in August.
The following is the Jan. 5, 2016 release on the move of VAW-125.
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Coming to Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – The U.S. Navy announced today that its newest airborne early warning and control aircraft, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, will join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 in Japan in February 2017.
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, which flies the E-2D, will forward deploy to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, and replace Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, which flies the older E-2C. VAW-125, coming from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is the first VAW squadron to transition to the Advanced Hawkeye.
The U.S. Navy is also scheduled to begin a phased relocation of CVW-5’s fixed-wing aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni. The move comes as part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI) as directed in the May 1, 2006 Security Consultative Committee Document (also known as the U.S.-Japan Roadmap for Realignment).
The phased relocation of CVW-5’s Japan-based, fixed-wing aircraft will be completed on a timeline agreed upon by the governments of the United States and Japan. The relocation is scheduled to start the second half of 2017.
VAW-115 will depart NAF Atsugi for Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., in the summer of 2017 for transition to the new platform at a future date.
These moves are in accordance with the Navy’s strategic vision for the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, a plan to put the most advanced and capable units forward in order to support the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the region.
VAW-115 has patrolled the skies of the Pacific since April 1967, deployed onboard multiple forward deployed U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, and participated in exercises such as Valiant Shield, Malabar, Talisman Saber, ANNUALEX, and Keen Sword. VAW-125 was established in 1968 and served as 2 an East Coast-based early warning squadron that most recently supported USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The E-2D is the latest variant of the long-running E-2 Hawkeye series of aircraft, which employs long-range radar and electronic communications capabilities to oversee the battlespace and detect threats beyond the sensor range of other friendly units.
The Advanced Hawkeye’s suite of systems allow it to act as the “digital quarterback” of the fleet, collecting and distributing the tactical picture to command centers and other assets through onboard data processing subsystems. New features of the E-2D include the A/N-APY9 radar which is capable of both mechanical and electronic sweeping, an “all glass” tactical cockpit, an upgraded mission computer, and upgraded data link capabilities.
The first variant of E-2 series entered service in 1964, making the Hawkeye the Navy’s longest serving carrier-based aircraft.