French Aeronavale E-2C Hawkeye @Kleine-Brogel Spotter Day, Belgium


On Saturday, the spotter day took place at Kleine-Brogel Air Base. After a year of absence due to Covid, this time thousands of aircraft enthusiasts were present at the Belgian base for a great day. The absolute highlight through the eyes of the real spotters was the presence of a French Navy Hawkeye.

The French Navy has a total of three Grumman E-2C Hawkeye radar aircraft in use which can be deployed aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. These E-2Cs are important for the deployment of the Rafales and are used as a flying radar station. These aircraft are assigned to the 4 Flottille. The planes are land based at Lorient/Lann-Bihoué in Brittany in western France. Originally the Hawkeye was in France only intended for the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) task. The aircraft carried out patrol flights at the extreme edge of the operating area of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to which the aircraft is assigned. In the event of an airborne threat, the E-2C Hawkeye crew will bring the Rafales on the right course in the interception role to intercept the airborne threat. In addition to the all-weather AEW tasks, the aircraft now also performs other tasks. The Hawkeye also performs command & control functions for the CSG. The crew of the radar aircraft coordinates the surveillance of a sea area, it coordinates actions during attacks and interceptions, it leads the Search And Rescue (SAR) coordination and the aircraft is used as a flying radio operating station. The Hawkeye is a versatile aircraft which plays a very important role for the CSG.