The U.S. Navy awarded an $845.5 million contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation for the E-2D Delta System Software Configuration 6 (DSSC 6) on September 12. DSSC 6 is scheduled to be introduced in fiscal year 2027 and aims to add the “most significant change to this platform since the E-2D rolled out,” said Capt. Pete Arrobio, E-2/C-2 Airborne Command and Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231) program manager. DSSC 6 replaces the current integrated navigation and controls and display systems and tactical mission computer and display systems on E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft with a modern Hawkeye cockpit technology refresh and theater combat identification that allows for rapid integration of new capabilities, including non-proprietary applications from industry partners.
“Essentially, with the changes and upgrades with DSSC 6, this will be an E-2D ‘Block II’ which will reduce pilot workload, improve situational awareness, and bring vital readiness and reliability upgrades paired with architecture and cybersecurity improvements,” said Arrobio.
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a game changer in how the Navy conducts battle management command and control. By serving as the “digital quarterback” to sweep ahead of strike, manage the mission, and keep our net-centric carrier battle groups out of harms way, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the key to advancing the mission, no matter what it may be. The E-2D gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations delivering battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system. Fielding of the E-2D Delta System Software Configuration 6 (DSSC 6) in the fleet is scheduled to begin in 2029. PMA-231’s mission is to develop, acquire and sustain unmatched carrier-based airborne command, control, and logistics aircraft with the E-2C Hawkeye, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and C-2A Greyhound.
The Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye is an American all-weather, carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s by the Grumman Aircraft Company for the United States Navy as a replacement for the earlier, piston-engined E-1 Tracer, which was rapidly becoming obsolete. The aircraft’s performance has been upgraded with the E-2B and E-2C versions, where most of the changes were made to the radar and radio communications due to advances in electronic integrated circuits and other electronics. The E-2 was the first aircraft designed specifically for its role, as opposed to a modification of an existing airframe, such as the Boeing E-3 Sentry. Variants of the Hawkeye have been in continuous production since 1960, giving it the longest production run of any carrier-based aircraft.