The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Hawkeye programme a $432m fixed-price incentive fee contract to provide four low-rate initial production (LRIP) Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft.

Two LRIP lot 1 and two LRIP lot 2 aircraft will be provided under the company’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye programme, while the company will also offer associated engineering and testing.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems vice president for airborne early warning and battle management command and control programmes Jim Culmo said that the first three pilot production E-2D aircraft were currently moving through the production process and the company was on track to deliver the first pilot production aircraft in 2010.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye programme has accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours with completion of milestone C and is on track to enter operational evaluation in fiscal year 2012.

Hawkeye has been enhanced by Lockheed Martin’s AN/APY-9 electronic scan array (ESA) that helps warfighters with expanded battlespace and situational awareness.