France is to order three Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft in 2020, the French defence minister has confirmed.
Florence Parly made the commitment in an interview published in the Les Echos national newspaper.
The French Navy had been closely following the introduction of the E-2D into US Navy service, with the type to be adopted to replace the three E-2C Hawkeyes serving with Flottille 4F at Lann-Bihoué, near Lorient, in Brittany.
The E-2C has been in French Navy service for more than 20 years and the Marine Nationale is looking at the new E-2D as the obvious replacement. The newer variant is fitted with an entirely new AN/APY-9 radar with combined electronic/mechanical-scanning capabilities, more powerful processors, and an improved man-machine interface with larger screens. The airframe and engines remain the same, however, which will help accelerate and facilitate the transition from the E-2C to the E-2D.
Separately, Parly also confirmed that the contract for seven Dassault Falcon 2000LXS Albatros maritime surveillance aircraft will be inked in 2020. The type has been selected as part of the Avsimar (Avions de surveillance et d'intervention maritime, surveillance, and maritime intervention) programme to replace fast-ageing Guardians and Falcon 50s. Seven offshore patrol vessels will be ordered for surveillance missions in French overseas dependencies.
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