NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Navy announced Thursday that their newest airborne early warning and control aircraft, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, will join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Japan in February, 2017 as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW 5).
Norfolk-based squadron VAW-125 is the first squadron to transition to the Advanced Hawkeye. They will forward deploy to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and replace VAW-115, which flies the older E-2C.
VAW-115 will depart NAF Atsugi for Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California, in the summer of 2017 for transition to the new platform at a future date.
VAW-125’s move to MCAS Iwakuni is part of the Navy’s phased relocation of Carrier Air Wing 5’s fixed-wing aircraft from NAF Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni, scheduled to start in late 2017.
The plan is part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI) and was recommended in late 2005.
The deployment of the E-2D follows 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 an East Coast-based early warning squadron that most recently supported USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.