|The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Photo: Northrop Grumman|
[Avionics Today 09-04-2014] Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have successfully conducted the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aerial refueling system, which will extend the warfighter’s flight endurance. The program can now proceed to its Critical Design Review (CDR), moving closer to manufacturing the system and installing it on new production E-2Ds as well as retrofitting it onto E-2Ds that are currently in service.
Under a $226.7 million engineering, manufacturing and development contract awarded in 2013, Northrop Grumman is designing several system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability. These include new seats to enhance pilot field-of-view and decrease crew fatigue, formation lights for better visualization and air space orientation and enhanced software in the aircraft's flight control system to assist the pilots with aircraft handling qualities when refueling.
"The greater endurance provided by aerial refueling provides the warfighter with enhanced surveillance and targeting capability and the persistence needed to accomplish this more effectively," said Bart LaGrone, vice president of the E-2/C-2 programs at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "This results in an advanced airborne early warning system that yields greater surveillance for a longer period of time at a greater distance than presently available."
As the United States continues its shift to Asia-Pacific, the extended range of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye can provide the enhanced maritime security required by the vast geography of the Asia-Pacific region, for both the U.S. and its allies.