PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) E-2 Integrated Test Team (ITT) has completed flight testing of the Navy's new eight-bladed NP2000 propeller at Patuxent River, Md., successfully concluding a challenging series of developmental test and evaluation efforts that commenced in the summer of 2000.
Development of the NP2000 was initiated in the mid-1990s, when the Navy sought a viable replacement for the four-bladed HS54460 propellers utilized by its E-2 Hawkeye Command and Control, and C-2 Greyhound aircraft.
The new propeller incorporates several enhancements over its predecessor and is projected to reduce maintenance costs. Design features that facilitate these savings are a reduced parts count, the ability to replace individual propeller blades on the wing and a maintenance panel that enables propeller balancing from inside the aircraft.
While conducting Carrier Suitability Trials aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) in November, testers encountered a great amount of interest in the propeller by pilots and maintainers in the fleet. "They've heard about it and they're anxious to get it," said NAVAIR Test Team Lead Joe Spelz.
They will not have to wait long. The process of retrofitting the Navy's entire fleet of E-2s with the NP2000 is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2004.
Modifications will be done one squadron at a time. It is anticipated that the modifications will be conducted by a field team in Norfolk, Va., through the end of 2004 and will continue into 2006.
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