France has requested a possible $180 million upgrade programme for its Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning and control system aircraft, with the work to enhance the type's situational awareness capabilities.

The main aspect of the project would be to equip the French navy's three Hawkeyes with BAE Systems' APX-122 interrogation friend-or-foe (IFF) Mode 5/S interrogator and APX-123 transponder systems, according to a notification issued by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The aircraft would also receive ALQ-217 radar warning and electronic support measures equipment from Lockheed Martin, it said.

"France's current [E-2C] IFF interrogator, transponder and electronic support measures is old technology and requires upgrading," the DSCA said.

 E-2C Hawkeye - French navy

© French navy

The French navy received its Hawkeye aircraft between 1998 and 2004, as recorded in Flightglobal's MiliCAS database. The type was recently employed from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as part of the nation's contribution to NATO-led operations over Libya. This also included the use of Dassault Rafale and Super Etendard strike aircraft flown from the same vessel.

The proposed modernisation deal, which will also include the provision of training and logistics support services, requires approval by the US Congress.

Source: Flight International