France confirms order for 3 US-made E-2D Advanced Hawkeye carrier-capable early warning aircraft

According to a statement published by the French Ministry of Defense on November 20, 2020, the French Minister of Defense Florence Parly has confirmed the order for three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye American-made all-weather, carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. This twin-turboprop aircraft was designed and developed by the company Northrop Grumman.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye attached to the “Greyhawks” of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 120 approaches the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) flight deck, Oct. 29, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will be the flying command center for Rafale fighters on board the Charles aircraft carrier. The E-2D will replace the three E-2C Hawkeye currently in service with the French Navy. More modern, the new aircraft will offer additional capabilities including in-flight refueling.

The first delivery will take place in 2027 to ensure the continuity of operational capabilities between the current E-2C Hawkeye and the new aircraft.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is in service with U.S. Navy and Japan Air-Self Defense Force (JASDF). In November 2014, the Japan Ministry of Defense competitively selected the Northrop Grumman E-2D to fulfill an emerging next-generation airborne early warning requirement. The first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye was delivered to JASDF in March 2019.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform. The aircraft began full system development and demonstration in August 2003, and in July 2007, Northrop Grumman was awarded by the U.S. Navy the first production contract for three aircraft for delivery in 2010. The first aircraft was delivered to the U.S. Navy in July 2010.

The design of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is very similar to the previous version but it features a state-of-the-art AN/APY-9 radar with a two-generation leap in capability and upgraded aircraft systems that will improve supportability and increase readiness. The APY-9 radar features an active electronically scanned array, which adds electronic scanning to the mechanical rotation of the radar in its radome. The aircraft also features a Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems tactical glass cockpit. The new equipment also includes a radio suite, mission computer, integrated satellite communications, and flight management system.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a high-wing airplane powered by two Rolls-RoyceT56-A-427A turboprop engines mounted on each wing and retractable tricycle landing gear. As with most carrier-borne airplanes, the E-2D is equipped with a tailhook for recovery (landing), and the nose gear can attach to a shuttle of the aircraft carrier's catapults for launch (takeoff). The aircraft also uses the Grumman Sto-Wing folding wing system for carrier storage. A distinguishing feature of the Hawkeye is its 24-foot (7.3 m) diameter rotating radar dome that is mounted above its fuselage and wings.