France has become the second international customer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE), as it officially signed a letter of offer and acceptance to procure three E-2D aircraft from the US Navy.
The $2 billion agreement was signed on December 2, 2020, and will see France receive the airborne command and control aircraft by 2028.
E-2Ds will replace the three existing E-2C Hawkeyes that are operated by the French Navy, Marine Nationale.
The French Navy has been operating the E-2C Hawkeye since 1998 and is the only country other than the United States to operate Hawkeyes from an aircraft carrier. This capability enables interoperability exercises that support Hawkeyes from each other’s carrier flight decks. With the US Navy’s fleet transition to E-2D squadrons, the French Navy intends to maintain interoperability and partnership by taking steps to procure three E-2D aircraft.
“The E-2/C-2 program office is looking forward to continuing a longstanding partnership with France and beginning a new chapter with the E-2D,” said Capt. Pete Arrobio, program manager of the E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231). “This procurement will increase interoperability among the U.S. Fleet and international partners.”
The E-2D AHE represents a two-generation leap in technology compared to its predecessor, the E-2C Hawkeye. The aircraft features a new radar and upgraded aircraft systems that improve supportability and increase readiness. The centerpiece of the E-2D AHE is the APY-9 radar system, designed specifically to provide enhanced surveillance detection and tracking capability against advanced threat aircraft and cruise missile systems in the overland, littoral, and open ocean environments. With the addition of aerial refueling capabilities, the E-2D remains the most advanced command and control platform in the world.
The French Navy becomes the second international customer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The Japan Air Self Defense Force has purchased 13 E-2D aircraft to date.