US State Department approval has been granted for the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of a further five Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and related equipment to Japan for an estimated cost of $1.381bn.
Confirmation that the State Department had approved this prospective FMS was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on March 7, after it had notified the US Congress of the possible sale that same day. As part of the deal, Japan has requested an additional five E-2Ds, adding to the 13 examples that have already been ordered for use by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) – five of which have already been delivered.
In addition to the E-2Ds, Japan is seeking to acquire a further 12 Rolls-Royce (formerly Allison) T56-A-427A turboprop engines; six Multifunction Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System Terminals and five Lockheed Martin AN/APY-9 airborne early warning radars, among a host of other systems and receivers. The deal also includes the provision of associated support equipment, spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, ferry services and personnel training services and equipment.
Commenting on the prospective sale in a media release (published on March 7), the DSCA said: “The proposed sale will improve Japan’s ability to effectively provided homeland defense utilizing an AEW&C capability. Japan will use the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to provide AEW&C situational awareness of air and naval activity in the Pacific region and to augment its existing E-2C Hawkeye AEW&C fleet.”
The JASDF has operated the Hawkeye family of AEW&C aircraft since 1984, when the first of 13 now-legacy E-2Cs entered operational service. On June 1, 2015, the US State Department approved the possible FMS of four E-2Ds to Japan for an estimated cost of $1.7bn to augment its ageing E-2C fleet. Japan followed this up with an order for nine additional E-2Ds on September 10, 2018, at an estimated cost of $3.135bn. The JASDF’s first Advanced Hawkeye completed its maiden flight on November 13, 2017, with Northrop Grumman formally delivering the initial E-2D to Japan on March 9, 2019. At present, five of the 13 E-2Ds have been delivered to the JASDF in-country.
If enacted, this latest order will increase the JASDF’s E-2D fleet to 18 aircraft. At present, the five Advanced Hawkeyes that have already been delivered are being operated alongside their legacy E-2C counterparts as part of 601 Hikotai (Squadron) at Misawa Air Base. The JASDF also currently operates the E-2C under 603 Hikotai at Naha Air Base. Khalem Chapman