Jon Lake – Northrop Grumman has been contracted to begin work on the second batch of nine E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
These were ordered by Japan under a $3 billion deal announced by Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya on 12 October this year, following a United States DSCA (Defense Security Cooperation Agency) approval notice that was announced on 10 September.
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) originally bought thirteen E-2C Hawkeyes to improve its early warning capabilities, and these entered service with the Airborne Early Warning Group’s 601st Hikotai at Misawa in January 1987. The type subsequently also equipped the 603rd Hikotai at Naha.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense initially selected the E-2D in November 2014. The new Hawkeye variant was selected in preference to the Boeing 737 AEW&C. The new aircraft are intended to serve alongside and later replace the older E-2C, and to augment the JASDF’s four bigger Boeing E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Initially a batch of four E-2Ds were requested, at a reported cost of $945 million, with the individual aircraft being ordered separately in November 2015, July 2016, June 2018 and on 5 October 2018.
With these four aircraft now in various stages of production, long-lead items for the fifth aircraft (JAA5) for the JASDF have now been ordered, following the award of a $32 million contract on 16 November.
The E-2D purchase forms a key element within Japan’s soon-to-be-published National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs) and the 2019-23 Mid-Term Defense Plan (MTDP). The initial batch of four aircraft will be delivered to the JASDF between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020. The newly-ordered fifth aircraft is due to be delivered before the end of 2022.
by Jon Lake