The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has given its approval for the US Navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, built by Northrop Grumman, to enter full-rate production following a successful operational test and evaluation phase.
"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," says Bart LaGrone, Northrop's vice president for the E-2 programme.
So far Northrop has delivered nine E-2Ds to the USN, with another 11 aircraft in various stages of manufacturing and pre-delivery flight-testing, the company says.
The USN expects to declare initial operational capability with the E-2D in 2015.
"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," says Capt. John Lemmon, USN's programme manager for the E-2D.