Japan has placed an order for a second Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft through a $163 million deal with the US government.
A $151 million contract for the first E-2D was signed by Tokyo in November 2015, and both aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2018.
The airframe for the first Japanese aircraft is complete and is having its electrical and hydraulic subsystems installed, Jay Mulhall, director of business development for the E-2D programme at Northrop, tells FlightGlobal.
“As each aircraft continues to grow in capability, flight testing evolves to ensure those unique capabilities meet the desired requirements,” he adds. “The flight-test schedule is aligned to Japan's requirements that the E-2D operate from a land base, and is on schedule for 2018 delivery.”
The contract for the first aircraft was followed by a $286 million award to Northrop in January to take the aircraft to Japan’s nation-specific configuration, which includes a “wet wing” that will increase the endurance of the land-based aircraft from some 5h to 8h.
Japan, which currently operates 13 E-2C Hawkeye variants, requested the acquisition of four E-2Ds, which was approved by the US government in June 2015.
Contracted by the US Naval Air Systems Command via the nation's Foreign Military Sales mechanism, Japan’s order will come from a US Navy multi-year contract for 25 aircraft worth $3.6 billion that was signed in June 2014.
The USN intends to acquire 75 E-2Ds, with 25 aircraft delivered to date, Mulhall says.
Five aircraft will be handed over in 2016, three of which have been already rolled out; the next one to be received by the navy is the first produced under the 2014 contract, he says.
An aerial refuelling capability is being developed to provide the USN aircraft with endurance of 8h when operating at sea; first flight is scheduled for December 2016, Mulhall adds.