The Grumman E-1 Tracer was the first purpose built airborne early warning aircraft used by the US Navy. Tracers were deployed on the “Intrepid” for operations off the coast of Vietnam.
Flying above a carrier task force, the Tracer and its crew of four provided an electronic bird’s eye view of the airspace. The radar capability of the Tracer extended the view of the task force many hundreds of miles over the horizon.
The Tracer served aboard the “Intrepid” until the ships retirement in 1974. The most distinctive feature of this airplane was the radome, the aerodynamic structure over the plane. The radome covered a dish-type radar system which had a search radius of 250 miles or 402 km.
- Name: Grumman (WF-2) E-1 Tracer
- Role: Carrier Airborne early warning
- National origin: United States
- Manufacturer: Grumman
- First flight: 1956
- Introduction: 1958
- Retired: 1977
- Primary user: United States Navy
- Number built: 88
- Museum: Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons