Northrop Grumman to provide major upgrades of cockpit avionics and mission computers for Navy E-2C aircraft

Sept. 14, 2023
The Navy Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft designed to operate from aircraft carriers.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. will handle a major cockpit avionics upgrade of the U.S. Nay E-2D Advanced Hawkeye carrier-based radar surveillance and early warning aircraft under terms of a nearly half-billion-dollar order announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are awarding a $458.2 million order to the Northrop Grumman Aeronautics segment in Melbourne, Fla., to replace the E-2D's integrated navigation and controls, display systems, tactical mission computers, and display systems, as part of the aircraft's cockpit technical refresh and theater combat identification project.

The Navy Northrop Grumman E-2D is a tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft designed to operate from aircraft carriers. The twin-engine turboprop aircraft has a distinctive antenna, and provides the carrier battle group with wide-area radar surveillance for enemy monitoring and combat air traffic control.

Long-lead items either are difficult and time-consuming to obtain, and are funded early in the aircraft design process to keep overall production on schedule. Contracts to build the missile will come later.

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The E-2D Group 2 Plus aircraft has avionics upgrades that include GPS satellite navigation in the aircraft's weapon system. It also has an upgraded mission computer and engines, compared to earlier models of the E-2D.

The plane's large saucer-like radar antenna mounted to the top of the aircraft, as well as other advanced avionics, enables it to detect hostile aircraft and missiles at extremely long ranges and vector Navy aircraft to intercept.

Northrop Grumman officials call the E-2D reconnaissance aircraft a "digital quarterback" to sweep ahead of Navy aircraft carrier strike groups, manage missions, and keep U.S. network-centric carrier battle groups out of harm's way. The aircraft provides battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multi-sensor fusion capabilities.

Compared with its E-2C predecessor, the E-2D has a new radar with mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities; glass cockpit; advanced identification friend or foe (IFF) system; new mission computer and tactical workstations; electronic support measures enhancements; an d modernized communications and data link suite, Northrop Grumman officials say.

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The plane is nearly 58 feet long, has an 80-foot wingspan, can fly faster than 300 knots, and can fly to altitudes as high as 37.000 feet. It carriers a crew of five: two pilots and three mission systems operators. The co-pilot also can act as a fourth mission systems operator.

The E-2D first flew in 2007, and Navy officials say they hope to procure 73 of these aircraft by this year. These planes started going to the fleet in 2015.

On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Melbourne, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Bloomington, Md.; Rolling Meadows, Ill.; Greenlawn, N.Y.; Falls Church, Va.; Woodland Hill, Calif.; Laval, Quebec; and other U.S. locations, and should be finished by September 2028.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aeronautics online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

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