Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to procure two additional E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Delta System/Software Configuration Build IV (DSSC-4) developmental test aircraft.
The US$9.5m contract was awarded to the firm on May 25 by US Naval Air Systems Command and is an amendment to an earlier contract which increases the quantity of DSSC-4 trials aircraft on order from three to five. It also covers the upgrade of the platform’s mission computer display memory from 32GB to 64GB. Contract work is expected to be completed in June 2022.
The baseline initial operational capability configuration – known as DSSC Build 1 (DSSC-1) – has been followed by progressive upgrades. The latest, DSSC-4, is planned to enter an operational test campaign in fiscal year 2021 (FY21), ahead of its scheduled fleet release in FY22, and includes elements to meet Naval Integrated Fire Control Increment 3 (NIFC increment 3) requirements.
DSSC-4 is comprised of the following capabilities: E-2D Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS-JTRS); tactical targeting networking technology; secret internet protocol router chat; data fusion (phase one); sensor netting and DSSC-4 counter electronic attack. This configuration will be followed by DSSC-5, which has a planned operational test and fleet release date within FY24.
DSSC-5 will provide more capabilities that are necessary for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to meet NIFC increment 3 requirements. It will comprise sensor netting; stores performance assessment requested quality, data fusion (phase two); E-2D AN/ALQ-217 Electronic Support Measures and DSSC-5 counter electronic attack.
DSSC-6 is scheduled to go through the operational test and fleet release process in FY26. This configuration will continue to provide the capabilities necessary for the E-2D to meet NIFC increment 3 requirements. It will include enhanced theatre combat identification; survivability and DSSC-6 counter electronic attack capabilities.