Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Airborne Early Warning Antennas and Rotary Couplers

E-2C Hawkeye and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

The OE-335A/A Total Radiation Aperture Control (TRAC-A) Airborne Early Warning (AEW) antenna group is mounted on top of the carrier-based E-2C Hawkeye and the land-based P-3 AEW aircraft. This antenna group consists of a 24-foot, rotating, aerodynamic radome housing a UHF surveillance RADAR antenna array, IFF antenna array and other auxiliary antennas.

The TRAC-A RADAR antenna provides extremely low sidelobes that helps to reduce clutter and jammer threats. The low sidelobe level is obtained by the precise amplitude and phase control of the dipole elements arranged in a broadside array. The complexity of this antenna required that the design be accomplished by extensive computer analysis in taking mutual coupling and radome effects into account. For over 35 years TRAC-A antenna group has proven to be both a reliable and capable AEW solution for both domestic and foreign fleets. Randtron continues to support the user community by offering depot services and feature/function upgrades both in the field and at the L3Harris Antenna Systems manufacturing facility.

The OE-585/A antenna group was designed for an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye installation and has been fielded for nearly 10 years. This state-of-the art-AEW antenna incorporates a broadside end-fire linear radar array with a co-located/co-aligned IFF linear array. This antenna group supports both mechanical and electronic azimuth scan. The radar and IFF antenna subsystems are housed in a 24-foot diameter radome of a fiberglass/graphite composite construction. Radome construction utilizes state-of-the-art processing techniques resulting in a strong yet lightweight structure.

L3Harris has also designed, manufactured and is delivering the Hawkeye Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) antenna system. The CEC is a real-time sensor netting system that enables high-quality situational awareness and integrated fire control capability. It is designed to enhance the anti-air warfare (AAW) capability of U.S. Navy ships, U.S. Navy aircraft and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Composite Tracking Network (CTN) units by the netting of geographically dispersed sensors to provide a single integrated air picture, thus enabling Integrated Fire Control to destroy increasingly capable threat cruise missiles and aircraft. The CEC antenna array incorporates 96 electronically steerable end-fire elements into a conformal enclosure on the belly of the E-2 to ensure secure communication and engagement survivability across the fleet.

L3Harris has supplied the fleet with these antennas since 1972 and will provide our continued support well into the future.
L3Harris is a supplier of custom rotary couplers, with an emphasis on high-power, airborne designs to support a variety of AEW radar systems. 

The first rotary coupler utilized on the E-2C Hawkeye aircraft was a three-channel design that provided for UHF radar and IFF functions. This design rotated at 6 RPM and could be telescoped for storage below the deck of an aircraft carrier. This rotary coupler has since been upgraded to an eight-channel design that supports the functions of two additional UHF channels, two very broadband channels and incorporation of communication channel slip ring. Variants of this eight-channel design are a pivotal component for both the E-2C Hawkeye and P-3 AEW aircraft.

L3Harris developed and manufactures a state-of-the-art 22-channel rotary coupler for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft and APY-9 radar. This design features 18 identical, very high-power UHF channels that result in very low insertion loss, VSWR and WOW channel performance leading to consistent channel-to-channel performance and tracking. This rotary coupler design features a novel air cooling system, shock mounted installation arrangement and specialty bearing lubricant systems to support the demanding requirements of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. 



For nearly 40 years, L3Harris has been the qualified supplier of the E-3 AWACS rotary coupler. This rotary coupler was designed to support the APY-1/2 radars that have extremely demanding high-power requirements. This rotary coupler incorporates eight RF channels and a complex slip ring assembly, that supports both power and control functionality to the rotodome assembly.

The AWACS high-power channel is actively cooled design supports extremely high peak and average power operation. Non-contacting, rotary interfaces result in a unit that has proven to be very reliable, with units exceeding 30,000 operational hours under hot and cold environmental conditions. These designs are flying on both the E-3 AWACS and Boeing E-767 aircraft.

Airborne Early Warning Antennas and Rotary Couplers

Recent development activities include an integrated fiber optic rotary joint into our Rotary Coupler

This technology—in unison with power slip rings—facilitates future growth and added mission capabilities into remotely mounted antenna systems.

RS230 Standard Quality Requirements Listing

  • Standard Quality Requirements

Related Domains & Industries

Solutions that solve our customers' toughest challenges.
view all capabilities