Geoff Thomas

Northrop Grumman is hoping to woo customers for its E-2C Hawkeye 2000 airborne early earning and control (AEW&C) system - particularly Greece - by entertaining them in a caravan.

An unlikely scenario maybe, but this is not just any old caravan. It's a huge trailer which was carried across the Atlantic by ship before making its international debut here at Farnborough '98.

The caravan has its own self-contained power supply and features three Hawkeye 2000 workstations which demonstrate the new system's capabilities to customers and the news media without tying up expensive aircraft and personnel.

Immediately after Farnborough, the caravan will be taken by road to Greece where it will play an important role in Northrop Grumman's attempts to persuade them to opt for their product rather than the competing Ericsson/Embraer Erieye or Lockheed Martin C-130J AEW&C options.

Hawkeye 2000, which first flew in April this year, is more than just an upgrade to the existing - and successful - E-2C. Already tagged "the world's most automated AEW&C aircraft", Hawkeye 2000 makes it relatively simple to keep the system technologically current with a minimum of investment through its open-architecture design and use of commercial off-the-shelf technology.

Beginning in 2001, all US Navy production E-2C deliveries will be Hawkeye 2000s and international customer deliveries would be standardised on this configuration for economic and production efficiencies. Other customers committed to upgrade include the Japanese and the Egyptians, while the Taiwanese are looking at acquiring two more aircraft to bring their total up to four, the same number that Northrop Grumman hopes to sell to the Greeks.

Source: Flight Daily News