France will soon buy three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to replace the Navy’s old E-2C Hawkeye planes.
“Like the E-2C Hawkeye currently in service with the French Navy and implemented by the Flottille 4F squadron, the three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft will be stationed at the Lann-Bihoué (Brittany) naval air base and deployed on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, and eventually on its successor,” Naval News reported, citing the French Ministry of Armed Forces.
The U.S. green-lighted the sale of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye jets and related equipment to France for $2 billion this July. The French Navy will be second only to Japan, to own these jets.
As it was the case with the E-2C, France will be the only non-U.S. Advanced Hawkeye operator to deploy them aboard aircraft carriers. The MoD statement added that AEW&C aircraft guarantee the safety of the carrier strike group, to which they provide a unique capability for remote detection and identification of threats, command and control of air assets for air-sea operations, and power projection at sea and to land from the aircraft carrier.
Built by Northrop Grumman, the aircraft’s AESA radar, cockpit and data links are notably improved over its predecessor E-2C. The new planes can also be refuelled in flight. They will be adapted to French requirements by integrating a specific computer, developed by the French Aerospace Industry Service (SIAé), which will guarantee the system’s autonomous upgrade capability.