French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly approved French Navy’s acquisition of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye tactical Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft on Nov. 4.
Led by the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, “Directorate General of Armaments”), this acquisition of the U.S.-made aircraft will be made under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) type agreement with the U.S. government. The FMS sale, worth an estimated $2 billion, was approved by the U.S. State Department earlier this year.
The 2019-2025 Military Planning Law (loi de programmation militaire, LPM) provides for the delivery of these three aircraft to the French Navy by 2030. The new aircraft will replace the three French Navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft currently in Navy service.
Designed by American company Northrop-Grumman, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a generation ahead of its predecessor, the E-2C Hawkeye model. The E-2D features an entirely new avionics suite including the new AN/APY-9 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, radio suite, mission computer, integrated satellite communications, flight management system, improved T56-A-427A engines, a glass cockpit and aerial refueling capability.
The three E-2D aircraft ordered for the French Navy will be adapted to French needs by the integration of a specific computer, developed by SIAé, which will guarantee the capacity for autonomous development of the system.
Like the E-2C Hawkeye currently in service with the French Navy and operated by the 4 Flotilla (4 Flotille, 4F), the three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will be stationed at the Lann Bihoue Naval Air Base (Base Aéronavale de Lann Bihoué) in Morbihan and will be deployed on Navy’s sole operational aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, and ultimately on its successor.
The carrier-based aircraft provides expanded battlespace awareness for carrier strike groups. Its two-generation leap in radar technology allows the E-2D to work with ship-, air- and land-based combat systems to track and defeat air, ship and cruise missiles at extended range. The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination.