France became the second international customer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE), Dec. 2, with a signed Letter of Offer and Acceptance to procure three E-2D aircraft from the U.S. Navy, for a maximum value of $2 billion. The three E-2Ds are scheduled to be delivered by 2028 and will replace the three existing E-2C Hawkeyes of the French Navy, Marine Nationale. 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. PMA-231 is responsible for providing the E-2C Hawkeye, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and the C-2A Greyhound fleet with acquisition strategy, logistics and sustainment solutions.
“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 procurement of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will provide France a generational leap in capability for unparalleled situational awareness for their air defense fleets,” said Janice Zilch, vice president, manned airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. “We have a long standing relationship with France as it transitions to E-2D’s from a two-decade legacy of E-2C aircraft.”
The LOA allows the U.S. Navy to begin contracting activities with Northrop Grumman for production of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. The signed LOA secures the sale that will include three E-2D aircraft, nonrecurring engineering, spares, repairs and support equipment, training and follow-on support, within the congressional approval funding limit. The anticipated contract award will be in 2022 with aircraft delivery to France in 2028 at the latest. The French Navy has been operating the E-2C Hawkeye since 1998 and is the only country other than the United States to operate its E-2 from an aircraft carrier. This capability enables interoperability exercises that support Hawkeyes from each other’s carrier flight decks.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, produced by Northrop Grumman, represents a two-generation leap in technology compared to its predecessor, the E-2C Hawkeye. The aircraft features a state-of-the-art 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 U.S. Navy strives to continuously implement improvements to aircraft. In FY2020, the E-2D will achieve initial operational capability (IOC) with aerial refueling (AR) capability. With AR, the all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning and command and control aircraft will be able to remain airborne to the limits of the aircrew and airframe endurance. Aerial refueling-equipped aircraft will also feature new endurance seats, fuel system ehnancements, and new exterior lighting. Aerial refueling increases the range and persistence of the E-2D AHE. The “eyes of the fleet” will see further and wider, equipping the warfighter for ever-evolving threats.