|An E-2C test aircraft assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 conducts an aerial refueling dry-plug engagement with an F/A-18. Photo: Northrop Grumman|
[Avionics Today 07-02-2015] Northrop Grumman along with the U.S. Navy have successfully conducted the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aerial Refueling (AR) system. Under a $226.7 million Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) contract awarded in 2013, Northrop Grumman is designing, developing, manufacturing and testing several sub-system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability.
Approval of this milestone demonstrates design maturity and acknowledgment that the program is ready to transition to the build/test phase. CDR also moves the program closer to installing this capability on new production aircraft. The E-2D aircraft already in service will be retrofitted with the aerial refueling capability.
Northrop Grumman will begin installation of the developmental aerial refueling subsystem and flight test instrumentation onto the E-2D test aircraft in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016. The company has also planned flight testing for the AR-equipped E-2D test aircraft in 2017, and expects Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2020.