Mexico's navy has taken delivery of its first two of three ex-Israeli air force-operated Northrop Grumman E-2CHawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). The company's Bedek Aviation Group subsidiary has conducted an extensive overhaul of the surplus aircraft and their mission systems under the deal, with the last example set for delivery within three months.

Mexico's first two aircraft were officially handed over during a 16 June ceremony in Israel, before starting their transit flights to Mexico. Both were flown by Mexican crews, accompanied by IAI test pilots. The navy's second aircraft is pictured before landing at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK on 21 June.

Procured using funds supplied by the US government, Mexico's new aircraft will be used to monitor its coastline and to support its anti-narcotic and counter-smuggling operations along its border with the USA.

The E-2Cpurchase also supports the Mexican air force's acquisition of one Embraer EMB-145 equipped with Ericsson's Erieye radar and two EMB-145RS aircraft configured for maritime patrol and remote sensing duties. The first of these was accepted earlier this year.

Israel's Hawkeyes were removed from service and made available for disposal following the delivery of its lone Phalcon radar-equipped Boeing 707. The Israeli air force is also awaiting the delivery ofseveral Gulfstream G550 business jets configured for airborne early-warning duties to expand its current capabilities.


Source: Flight International