The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded Northrop Grumman a $353.6 million contract to build three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft for France.
The carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft will replace the French Navy’s 25-year-old fleet of E-2Cs. The new Hawkeyes will enable greater interoperability with the US Navy — in the middle of a similar transition — including sharing spare parts and maintenance and using each other’s carrier flight decks during combined operations.
The US Navy is scheduled to have 78 E-2Ds by 2025 to replace its E-2Cs, planning to operate the new planes for thirty years due to a series of planned upgrades.
Generational Leap in Advanced Tech
Northrop states that the latest aircraft in the E-2 series comes with a new AN/APY-9 radar, which is a two-generational leap in technology, “featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities.”
It also has an “advanced identification friend or foe system, new mission computer and tactical workstations, electronic support measures enhancements and modernized communications and data link suite.”
The manufacturer states that the aircraft provides simultaneous 360-degree air and maritime surveillance and expands the warfighter’s battlespace awareness by providing “battle management, theater air, and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system.”
Construction work will begin in 2024 and through April 2027, incorporating French-specific features such as a French Aerospace Industry Service computer to ensure system autonomous upgrade capability. It will also have in-flight refueling capability.