May 31 (UPI) — Northrop Grumman completed delivery of its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to Japan’s military, the company announced on Friday.
The surveillance and early warning plane is the first of four purchased by the Japan Air Self Defense Force, which has plans to order nine more. The JASDF selected Northrop Grumman to build the plane in 2014, and first flew one example in 2017.
The plane, notable for its massive radar array, is flown from aircraft carriers by the U.S. Navy. The Japanese variant will operate from land bases, and is modified to carry extra fuel. Japan has used an earlier version, the E-2C, since 1983.
“The E-2D delivers a two-generation leap in radar technology [over the E-2C], allowing the aircraft to track threats at extended range,” Northrup Grumman said in a statement. “The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination.”
The plane, in use with upgrades since 1964, is designed to extend sensor coverage and facilitate coordination with other planes at long ranges. Its 360-degree long-range radar is effective over open sea, shoreline, and land, and can detect, track, and identify air and surface targets and provide target identification.
Northrop Grumman received a $164.3 million contract from the JASDF in 2018 to build additional examples of the plane. They company announced on Friday that the French navy will also purchase its E-2D planes, with the first delivery date scheduled for 2026.