Northrop Grumman has received a $3.6bn contract from the US Navy to deliver 25 new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, specifically designed as a carrier-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system.
The latest fixed-price, incentive-fee multi-year agreement brings the total number of aircraft on contract with Northrop to 50.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems E-2 / C-2 programmes vice-president Bart LaGrone said: "It's a win-win. Our warfighters will get the advanced AEW&C technology that the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye brings, at a lower cost for taxpayers."
Designed to operate in the littoral and over land to provide unprecedented, 360-degree surveillance, the platform features open architecture compliant and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based hardware and software.
The aircraft can be used by the US Navy to conduct airborne strikes, land force support and rescue operations. It will also allow the navy to manage a reliable communications network between widely dispersed nodes and support drug interdiction operations.
Featuring command and control capabilities, the aircraft provides expanded battlespace awareness for soldiers, especially in information operations and battle management, theatre air and missile defence, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities.
The aircraft is fitted with the AN/APY-9 radar system, featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities, fully integrated glass tactical cockpit, advanced identification friend or foe system, electronic support measures enhancements and a modernised communications and data link suite.
E-2 / C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Programme Office (PMA-231) programme manager navy captain John Lemmon said: "The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the navy's primary airborne early warning and battle management command and control platform.
"I'm confident that as the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye attains initial operational capability later this year, the E-2D will continue to be ready, relevant and capable for decades to come and continue serving the navy carrier strike group with distinction."
To date, the company has delivered 13 production aircraft, as part of the navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye programme.
Image: The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye provides unprecedented, 360-degree surveillance. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corp.