In this file photo, an E2-D Advanced Hawkeye from VAW-121 preforms a touch and go on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in October. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Siobhana R. McEwen)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy's newest airborne early warning and control aircraft, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, will join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) as part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 in Japan in February 2017.

Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125, which flies the E-2D, will forward deploy to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, and replace Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115, which flies the older E-2C. VAW-125, coming from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., is the first VAW squadron to transition to the Advanced Hawkeye.

The U.S. Navy is also scheduled to begin a phased relocation of CVW-5's fixed-wing aircraft from Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi to MCAS Iwakuni. The move comes as part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI) as directed in the May 1, 2006 Security Consultative Committee Document (also known as the U.S.-Japan Roadmap for Realignment).

The phased relocation of CVW-5's Japan-based, fixed-wing aircraft will be completed on a timeline agreed upon by the governments of the United States and Japan. The relocation is scheduled to start the second half of 2017.

VAW-115 will depart NAF Atsugi for Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., in the summer of 2017 for transition to the new platform at a future date.

These moves are in accordance with 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.

The E-2D is the latest variant of the long-running E-2 Hawkeye series of aircraft, which employs long-range radar and electronic communications capabilities to oversee the battlespace and detect threats beyond the sensor range of other friendly units.

The Advanced Hawkeye’s suite of systems allow it to act as the “digital quarterback” of the fleet, collecting and distributing the tactical picture to command centers and other assets through onboard data processing subsystems. New features of the E-2D include the A/N-APY9 radar which is capable of both mechanical and electronic sweeping, an “all glass” tactical cockpit, an upgraded mission computer, and upgraded data link capabilities.

The first variant of E-2 series entered service in 1964, making the Hawkeye the Navy’s longest serving carrier-based aircraft.