Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for the aerial refueling system of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early-warning aircraft, the company announced on September 3.
With the completion of the PDR, the program advances to critical design review, moving closer to manufacturing the system. Under a $227 million engineering and manufacturing development contract the Navy awarded last year, Northrop Grumman is designing system upgrades needed to provide the E-2D an aerial refueling capability. Upgrades include the installation of new seats to improve pilots’ field of view, formation lights for improved airspace orientation and enhanced flight-control software.
“The level of information provided to the warfighter will increase exponentially with the extended range and endurance of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye fleet with aerial refueling,” said Bart LaGrone, Northrop Grumman vice president for E-2/C-2 programs.
The aerial refueling capability will be installed on new production E-2Ds and retrofitted on E-2Ds currently operating in the fleet. On June 30, the Naval Air Systems Command awarded Northrop Grumman a $3.6 billion multi-year contract modification to build 25 full rate production E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, lots two through six.
The Navy’s program of record calls for 75 of the Advanced Hawkeye twin turboprops, each fitted with new AN/APY-9 electronically steered radar and glass cockpit, to replace E-2Cs. Northrop Grumman said in June it had delivered 13 production aircraft. The Navy plans to declare the Advanced Hawkeye operational in Fiscal Year 2015, which begins in October.