Aerial Warfare

French Navy E2C Hawkeye from Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle to Romania

112
×

French Navy E2C Hawkeye from Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle to Romania

Share this article
French Navy E2C Hawkeye from Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle to Romania
French Navy E2C Hawkeye from Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle to Romania

A French E2C Hawkeye airborne control aircraft conducted an operational mission shielding the Alliance’s eastern flank on April 30, 2024 and conducted a refuelling at Borcea Air Base, Romania during NATO’s Neptune Strike 24-1. Taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier currently sailing in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek coast, the E2C flew into Romania to conduct a flight participating in NATO’s Air Shielding mission and supporting the deterrence and defence posture in the region. The Hawkeye was refueled on the ground at Borcea Air Base, Romania, in a short Agile Combat Employment stopover. Supported by Romanian ground crews, this manoeuvre allowed extending its effective time on task for missions under NATO’s enhanced Vigilance Activity Neptune Strike 24-1. This procedure enabled the E2C aircraft to execute the task and return to the Charles de Gaulle carrier and demonstrated interoperability among Allies during combined multi-domain operations.

A French E2C Hawkeye airborne control aircraft ready to take off from the flight deck of the French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier during Neptune Strike 24-1.
A French E2C Hawkeye airborne control aircraft ready to take off from the flight deck of the French Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier during Neptune Strike 24-1. (Photo by French Navy)

During Neptune Strike 24-1, for the first time, the French aircraft carrier sails under the authority of NATO. Its embarked assets including the French Navy’s Hawkeye and Rafale fighter jets participate in the activities until May 9 demonstrating NATO’s ability to integrate joint high-end maritime strike capabilities. Primarily, NEST prepares NATO to use and integrate the high-end maritime strike capabilities of Alliance nations; enabling their consideration and employment to deter threats to the Alliance. Under the overall command and control of NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces, Allied naval and amphibious forces participating in Neptune Strike are deployed across the European theatre and conduct complex integrated missions among others with Allied air assets. This showcases that besides training across large distances, the Alliance and its members also maintain their ability to conduct standing enduring missions like Air Policing that keeps NATO territory safe.

A crewmember of the French E2C Hawkeye inside the control aircraft supporting a mission during Neptune Strike 24-1. Photo courtesy French Navy.
A crewmember of the French E2C Hawkeye inside the control aircraft supporting a mission during Neptune Strike 24-1. (Photo by French Navy)

The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the U.S. Navy as a replacement for the earlier, piston-engined E-1 Tracer, which was rapidly becoming obsolete. The aircraft’s performance has been upgraded with the E-2B and E-2C versions, where most of the changes were made to the radar and radio communications due to advances in electronic integrated circuits and other electronics. Variants of the Hawkeye have been in continuous production since 1960, giving it the longest production run of any carrier-based aircraft. In addition to U.S. Navy service, smaller numbers of E-2s have been sold to the armed forces of Egypt, France, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan.

During a short stopover at Borcea Air Base, Romania, the carrier-based E2C Hawkeye conducted refuelling to be turned around for another mission. Photo courtesy French Navy.
During a short stopover at Borcea Air Base, Romania, the carrier-based E2C Hawkeye conducted refuelling to be turned around for another mission. (Photo by French Navy)

The French Naval Aviation (Aeronavale) operates three E-2C Hawkeyes and has been the only operator of the E-2 Hawkeye from an aircraft carrier besides the U.S. Navy. The French nuclear-powered carrier, Charles de Gaulle, currently carries two E-2C Hawkeyes on her combat patrols offshore. The third French E-2C Hawkeye has been upgraded with eight-bladed propellers as part of the NP2000 program. In April 2007, France requested the purchase of an additional aircraft. The Flottille 4F of the French Navy’s Aeronavale was stood up on 2 July 2000 and flies its E-2C Hawkeyes from its naval air station at Lann-Bihoue, deploying to the Charles de Gaulle. They took part in operations in Afghanistan and Libya. In September 2019 Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, announced that three new E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes would be purchased in 2020 to replace the E-2Cs in service.

Mission accomplished for the E2C Hawkeye as it returns to the Charles de Gaulle. The French aircraft carrier operated under NATO authority, for the fist time during Neptune Strike. Photo courtesy French Navy.
Mission accomplished for the E2C Hawkeye as it returns to the Charles de Gaulle. The French aircraft carrier operated under NATO authority, for the fist time during Neptune Strike. (Photo by French Navy)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *