Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy develop aerial refueling system for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

MELBOURNE, Fla. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have been working on developing an aerial refueling system for E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, and have successfully conducted the preliminary design review.

In 2013, was awarded a $226.7 million engineering, manufacturing, and development contract to design system upgrades for the E-2D to accommodate an capability. Included are formation lights for enhanced visualization and air space orientation; new seats to reduce crew fatigue and provide pilots an enhanced field-of-view; and upgraded software in the aircraft’s flight control system to assist pilots with aircraft handling qualities while refueling.

"The greater endurance provided by aerial refueling provides the warfighter with enhanced surveillance and targeting capability and the persistence needed to accomplish this more effectively," commented Bart LaGrone, VP of E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "This results in an advanced airborne early warning system that yields greater surveillance for a longer period of time at a greater distance than presently available."

Plans are to install the system on new E-2Ds as well as retrofitting it onto E-2Ds that are currently operating in the U.S. Navy fleet.

"Adding an aerial refueling capability to the will extend its critical mission of providing continuous information to the warfighter who depends on it," says Capt. John Lemmon, program manager, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office (PMA-231).

The extended range of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye provided by aerial refueling will provide further maritime security as the U.S. continues its shift of focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

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