The US Marine Corps has unloaded an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft onto the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni for its delivery to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
US Marines unloaded the aircraft from a cargo ship on October 18, ahead of its formal delivery to Japan.
Japan has a total of 13 E-2Ds on order to replace an equal number of the older E-2C Hawkeyes, which have been in service since 1983. Japan is also the largest E-2 operator outside the US.
Northrop Grumman delivered the first of the new E-2Ds for Japan in 2019 and was slated to deliver a total of five airframes by the end of 2022 according to initial plans. The aircraft that was unloaded on October 18 is the fourth known airframe to be delivered.
Developed for the US Navy as a carrier-based twin-engine tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft, the E-2D has also been acquired by France.
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.