The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Northrop Grumman a $353.5 million contract modification for work on the delivery of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to the French Navy.
The option contract was awarded to the company after France and the US reached a $2 billion agreement for the purchase in December last year.
E-2Ds are newer, more modern, variants of the three existing E-2C Hawkeyes that are operated by the French Navy, Marine Nationale. According to plans, France should receive the new airborne command and control aircraft by 2028.
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-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 is the second international customer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, with the first being the Japan Air Self Defense Force.