The Grumman E-1 Tracer was the first purpose-built airborne early warning aircraft used by the United States Navy.
It was a derivative of the Grumman C-1 Trader and entered service in 1958.
It was replaced by the more modern Grumman E-2 Hawkeye by the 1970s.
The E-1 was designated WF under the 1922 United States Navy aircraft designation system; the designation earned it the nickname “Willy Fudd”.
The Tracer was derived from the C-1 Trader, itself a derivative of the S-2 Tracker carrier-based antisubmarine aircraft, known as S2F under the old system, nicknamed “Stoof”, leading to the WF/E-1, with its distinctive radome, being known as “Stoof with a Roof.”
The E-1 featured folding wings of a very particular design for compact storage aboard aircraft carriers; unlike the S-2 and C-1 in which the wings folded upwards, the radome atop the fuselage required the E-1’s designers to re-adopt an updated version of the Grumman-patented Sto-Wing folding wing system, pioneered on their earlier Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat piston-engined fighter of the early-WW II period, to fold its wings aft wards along the sides of the fuselage.
The Tracer was fitted with the Hazeltine AN/APS-82 in its radome and fuselage.
The radar featured an Airborne Moving Target Indicator, which compares the video of one pulse time to the next in reflected radar energy to distinguish a flying aircraft from the clutter produced by wave action at the ocean’s surface.
The energy reflected from an aircraft changes position rapidly compared to the energy reflected from the surrounding sea. Separating a moving object from stationary background is accomplished by suitable hardware.
Aerodynamic prototype (BuNo 136792) without electronics, later rebuilt as a standard C-1A, retaining the twin tail.
The XTF-1W re-designated in the W-Warning category.
Production Airborne Early Warning version of the TF-1 Trader, redesignated E-1B in 1962, 88 built.