Northrop Grumman‘s first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft, Delta One, has successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch tests at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

The carrier suitability testing for the state-of-the-art airborne early warning aircraft is the last required phase of the testing before the aircraft can join the fleet.

The tests included catapult and arrested landing structural tests as well as testing interoperability between the aircraft and the carrier.

Delta One performed as expected with zero deviations in multiple launches, which shows that the aircraft can structurally handle the severity of carrier operations, according to the catapult test pilots.

Northrop Grumman is producing three E-2D pilot production aircraft under a $408m contract, which are currently on-track for delivery to the US Navy in 2010.

The E-2D features an entirely new avionics suite, including the new APY-9 radar, which provides the pilot with exceptional battle space and situational awareness.

Currently, the E-2D system development and demonstration (SDD) aircraft, Delta One and Delta Two, are in shore-based carrier suitability testing at NAS Pax Maryland.