The US Government has approved the sale of a tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to the Indian Navy.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the latest variant of E-2 series equipped with the new avionics suite that includes APY-9 radar, integrated satellite communications capability, flight management systems, improved engines and the ability to refuel in-flight.

India is only the second country after the UAE to be cleared by the US State and Defence Departments for sale of this sophisticated system.

The navy aircraft manufactured by Northrop Grumman will undergo initial operational test and evaluation in 2011 by the US Navy.

The Indian Navy is expected to take delivery of the first E-2D within three years of a contract being signed under the foreign military sales programme.