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Northrop Grumman, AIDC seek to upgrade Taiwan E-2K fleet

The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) uses its E-2K Hawkeye fleet for aerial surveillance and command-and-control operations. (Annabelle Chih/Getty Images)

Northrop Grumman and Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) have announced a partnership to collaborate on a possible upgrade of Taiwan's Northrop Grumman E-2K Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) fleet.

According to AIDC, the Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) requires a strengthening of its reconnaissance, search, and early warning capabilities to offset the growing obsolescence of its E-2K fleet.

AIDC describes the RoCAF's E-2K force as “an important player” in Taiwan's airspace defence, as the aircraft is used to provide “aerial surveillance and command-and-control functions” while “effectively monitoring the surrounding airspace and identifying enemies”.

“The aircraft and [its ability to] provide tactical guidance are of great importance to maintaining Taiwan's national security and defensive airspace,” AIDC said. “As the [E-2K's] service life increases, if [Taiwan] can purchase new E-2D aircraft in the future and upgrade the E-2K fleet to the latest configuration, it will strengthen the air force's reconnaissance, search, and early warning capabilities.”

An upgrade will also “facilitate fleet management and solve the problem of disappearing business sources”, AIDC added.

AIDC and Northrop Grumman said they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 23 February at the 2024 Singapore Airshow to support possible future upgrade plans for the E-2K.

Janice Zilch, vice-president, multi-domain command and control (MDC2) programmes, Northrop Grumman, told Janes on 7 March that the MOU “establishes a partnership between Northrop Grumman and AIDC as we jointly seek opportunities to support Taiwan's requirements for the future of their E-2K fleet, whether acquisitions or upgrades”.

An AIDC spokesperson told Janes on 29 February that the MOU declares “the collaboration intentions of both parties as well as [the] upgrade capabilities that AIDC has”.

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