Naval Air Station Welcomes New Aircraft

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The ooohing and ahhing at Fallon's Naval Air Station wasn't just reserved for visitors on Wednesday. That's because flight instructors and students were basking in the glory of the center's newest addition.

The E-2C Hawkeye has been flying over battlefields since the Vietnam War and even though it has no weapons whatsoever; flight instructors say it's the perfect tool for their Early Warning Weapons School.

The engines were a little bit more fired up in Fallon and every jet was conveniently stationed far away from the main attraction.

"Today is a major milestone in getting us the capability to be fully entrenched here in Fallon," says Rich Weathers, the outgoing Director of the weapons school.

Weathers will continue serving his country in Washington DC after spending the last two years trying to get E-2's into Fallon. The E-2c Hawkeye is an $80 million aircraft with a considerably different makeup than any of the others in the lot. A 24-foot diameter all-weather radar hovers above the craft, giving the five-man crew a 360-degree view. So even without any weapons, it's still an invaluable resource in battle or any other mission.

"In Hurricane Katrina, E-2's were used extensively to help de-conflict traffic in that area," says Jim Laingen who will be taking over for Weathers.

Laingen says he couldn't be happier to be taking control of the department at such an opportune time. Even though the aircraft is considerably slower than others, he likes what it will ultimately represent.

"To come here and see this aircraft at the time of my arrival is just a great opportunity for the school in general to take it to the next level if you will."