Northrop Grumman has been awarded a US Navy contract modification worth $285.97m to engineer and provide technical support to configure the first Japanese E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

Under the contract, Northrop will use the same E-2D multiyear production line used for the US aircraft to ensure an efficient and affordable delivery schedule.

Construction will take place at the company’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St Augustine, Florida, US.

"We are very pleased the Japan Ministry of Defense has expressed confidence in these systems."

In January 2015, the Japan Ministry of Defense selected the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft and the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system in order to enhance the nation’s security.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace System vice-president Mary Petryszyn said: "We are very pleased the Japan Ministry of Defense has expressed confidence in these systems and look forward to working with our US military customers through the FMS process."

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the latest and most technologically advanced variant of the E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning command and control (AEW&C) platform.

Capable of managing a reliable communications network between widely dispersed nodes, the aircraft is designed to conduct airborne strikes, land force support, rescue operations, and drug interdiction missions.

The E-2D features both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities, an advanced identification friend or foe System, new mission computer and tactical workstations, electronic support measures enhancements and modernised communications and data link suite.

The E-2D is the world’s only in-production AEW aircraft.

The Japanese Air Self Defense Force has also employed the E-2C Hawkeye since the late 1980s.

Image: An airborne E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Photo: courtesy of NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION.