France has signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to purchase three Northrop Grumman-built E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) aircraft from the US Navy.

The deal is valued at about $2bn and makes France the second international customer of the E-2D AHE.

The Japan Air Self Defense Force, the first international customer, has procured 13 E-2D aircraft so far.

The aircraft is the latest variant of the E-2 platform and successor to E-2C Hawkeye. It consists of an advanced radar and modernised aircraft systems, as well as aerial refuelling capabilities.

The E-2D’s APY-9 radar system offers surveillance detection and tracking capability.

E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231) programme manager captain Pete Arrobio said: “The E-2/C-2 programme office is looking forward to continuing a longstanding partnership with France and beginning a new chapter with the E-2D.

“This procurement will increase interoperability among the US Fleet and international partners.”

Expected to be delivered by 2028, the three E-2Ds will replace the three existing E-2C Hawkeyes of Marine Nationale, the French Navy.

PMA-231 is responsible for modifying, maintaining, and upgrading the E-2C Hawkeye, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, and the C-2A Greyhound fleet.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor of the E-2D AHE.

In January last year, Lockheed Martin secured the US Navy’s contract modification for E-2D AHE’s AN/ALQ-217 electronic support measures upgrade.