US company Northrop Grumman will build nine additional E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).
The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 26 September that US Naval Air Systems Command awarded the company a USD1.36 billion contract modification for the production and delivery of the additional aircraft under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The move brings to 13 the number of E-2Ds for the JASDF now under contract.
The announcement comes after Japan received on 29 March the first of an initial batch of four E-2Ds, with the other three E-2Ds expected to be delivered between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020.
In late 2018 Northrop Grumman announced that it had been contracted to begin work on the nine additional E-2Ds for the JASDF. The company received a USD32.73 million award in November 2018 from the US DoD for long-lead acquisitions related to the production of the fifth aircraft for Japan, which is expected to be delivered before the end of 2022.
Increased incursions into Japanese airspace by Chinese and Russian military aircraft have made monitoring air movements increasingly important, particularly given disputes over islands in the region.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense initially selected the E-2D in 2014 to serve alongside the service's ageing E-2C Hawkeye AEW aircraft, as well as the four Boeing E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) platforms in service with the JASDF.
The E-2Ds are expected to supplement Japan's 13 E-2Cs ahead of the latter being eventually retired. Japan has operated the E-2C since 1983 and is the largest E-2 operator outside the US.
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