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Japan eyes purchase of five more E-2D Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft

More Adwanced Hawkeyes for Japan
Illustration: US Navy file photo of an E-2D in flight

The US State Department has approved a potential sale of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to Japan for an estimated $1.381 billion.

The State Department’s notification of the potential sale to Congress is mandatory by law but does not mean a definitive sale has been agreed.

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Japan requested to buy up to five E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, along with radio systems, APY-9 radars, navigation and embedded global positioning systems and other related equipment.

Japan already has 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 the largest E-2 operator outside the US and this potential sale would only cement its position.

Northrop Grumman, the principal contractor on the proposed sale, 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.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region,” the DSCA said in a release.

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 centerpiece of the E-2D 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. The E-2D also has an aerial refueling capability.