Northrop Grumman is at the Aero India show highlighting capabilities in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) including airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems and the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye for maritime reconnaissance and unmanned aerial vehicles. “There is a strong interest in the E2-D,” said Tom Trudell, manager, international business development, AEW and BMC2 programs. An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye crew workstation and flyable cockpit simulator are part of the U.S. defense group’s display at the show.
The Indian Navy’s current requirement is for one squadron of four AEW aircraft with two options for two more, as spelt out in a request for information (RFI) issued in May 2010. It is believed the navy will require 12 more AEW aircraft in future.
India is among the first countries for which the Advanced Hawkeye capability has been approved for export by the U.S. government. The RFI states the aircraft should be able to perform ship and land-based operations.
The AN/APY-9 radar, with a two-generation leap in the Indian military’s existing capability, is the backbone of this aircraft and provides greater flexibility and significantly improved detection and tracking over all terrains. India’s requirements might necessitate a wet outer wing panel to give it an 8-hour range. “We are in continuing dialogue with the Indian Navy,” said Trudell. The country’s small requirement, however, is likely to create a challenge to honor offset commitments.
The Indian Navy had wanted to add further capability to the export version. The aircraft could be ready just before the new Indian Aircraft Carrier-2 is ready to enter service—possibly with a catapult—in 2018.
Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman’s MQ8-B FireScout UAV is awaiting for a formal RFI. The company’s airborne surveillance capabilities are being highlighted at Aero India 2013 with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft and the lighter-than-air long endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV).