Major US aviation group Northrop Grumman has selected French company Potez Aeronautique, from Aire-sur-l'Adour, to produce entire empennages for the E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning command and control aircraft ordered by the French navy.

Part of the US company's industrial benefits programme, the agreement is expected to bring more than $80million in new business to Potez which makes a range of military and civil aircraft structures.

The initial order is for five empennage assemblies, including horizontal stabilisers, elevators, rudders, vertical fins and tabs.

However, the long-term agreement will see Potez producing additional empennages to meet requirements for its US Navy and international E-2C customers.

Northrop Grumman president William James says: "This is another example of how US and French aerospace companies can successfully work together to establish industrial projects of mutual benefit."

Potez will be supplied with assembly tooling and a team of manufacturing and quality assurance engineers to help the project during programme start-up.

The empennage is made from 24 separate sub-assemblies comprising around 2,300 parts. The completed structures will be shipped to Northrop Grumman's E-2C final assembly plant in St Augustine, Florida.

The two French E-2Cs on order are nearly complete and other nations are considering buying the aircraft. It is already operated by Egypt, Japan, Singapore and the Republic of China.

Source: Flight Daily News