The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman, has been approved to enter full-rate production by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
This decision follows a report where the E-2D was declared operationally suitable and effective, following a successful 10-month initial operational test and evaluation conducted by the U.S. Navy.
“With the Navy’s E-2D program of record at 75 aircraft, this decision by OSD enables the production of the remaining 55 aircraft over the next 10 years and provides the opportunity for a cost-effective, multiyear procurement,” said Bart LaGrone, vice president, E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “The entire Northrop Grumman-led E-2D industry team remains focused on providing the most capable and cost-effective airborne early warning and command and control solution to our customer.”
“Our Navy and Northrop Grumman team continues to deliver on our promises,” said Capt. John S. Lemmon, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231) program manager. “I’m confident we will meet our ultimate goal to provide a capable and ready fleet with E-2Ds as we prepare for the first deployment in 2015.”
Conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One, IOT&E is a rigorous phase of testing that every new system undergoes to determine that it is operationally effective and suitable for fleet introduction. A successful IOT&E is a key factor leading to a successful full-rate production decision and is a necessary step leading to a multiyear procurement.
LaGrone continued, “An operationally suitable and effective rating confirms that the E-2D is a mature airborne early warning and battle management, command and control system, capable of providing critical force protection for carrier strike groups and coalition forces.”
To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered nine E-2Ds to the U.S. Navy on or ahead of schedule, with another 11 aircraft in various stages of manufacturing and pre-delivery flight testing. Initial operational capability with the U.S. Navy remains on track for 2015.