A Navy E-2C Hawkeye patrols the skies above the Arabian Sea, Nov. 28, 2020.

The Hawkeye is an unusual bird. Not only is it carrier-capable owing to its folding wings, it’s designed to be an all-weather aircraft providing tactical airborne early warning. It’s propelled by twin turboprop engines and was originally designed and developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Grumman Aircraft Company. Variants of the Hawkeye have been in continuous production since 1960, giving it the longest production run of any carrier-based aircraft.

The aircraft is operated by a crew of five, with the pilot and co-pilot on the flight deck and the combat information center officer, air control officer and radar operator stations located in the rear fuselage directly beneath the rotodome.

The rotodome, easily the hallmark of the Hawkeye, enabled the aircrafts early warning and surveillance capabilities. The rotating radar dome carries the E-2’s primary antennas for its long-range radar and IFF systems. No other carrier-borne aircraft possesses one of these, making it a special piece of the Naval arsenal.

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