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India to get US-made Hawkeye E-2D aircraft

An official photo of advanced Hawkeye E-2D.

NEW DELHI (BNS): Paving way for yet another high-end technology system for India, the US government has approved the sale of Hawkeye E-2D aircraft for Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and battle management for the Indian Navy, a defence journal here has reported.

The Indian Navy is likely to receive the very latest “futuristic” shipboard Hawkeye E-2D aircraft within three years of signing a contract with the aircraft’s manufacturer Northrop Grumman, according to a report in the India Strategic defence journal.

The Indian Navy has already placed an order for eight P 8I Maritime Multi-mission Aircraft being produced by US defence major Boeing.

The Hawkeye E-2D aircraft has “just been cleared by the US government for India and a presentation has been made to the Indian Navy in August in New Delhi,” the magazine, quoting Northrop Grumman's programme Manager for International Business Development Tom C. Trudell, said.

Following the clearance to sale the sophisticated system – which is likely to be inducted in the US Navy by 2011 – India has become only the second country after UAE to get the US State and Defence Departments’ approval to get the technology.

Earlier, the US had offered to sale the previous version of the aircraft – Hawkeye E-2C – which the Indian Navy had turned down, the magazine said.

“Indian Navy officers had witnessed the capabilities of the Hawkeye E-2C but told the US officials that as the equipment it would buy would be used for years, it must be the best and the latest with future capability insertion potential,” the report said.

However, neither the Gorhkov aircraft carrier that India is getting from Russia, nor its indigenously-built carrier – INS Arihant – would be able to house the US-made Hawkeye, the report said, adding that future aircraft carriers to be inducted in the Indian Navy would accommodate the aircraft.

“By the time this aircraft comes, and by the time the Indian Navy gets used to it from initial shore-based operations, plans for two more aircraft carriers could be amended to house this system,” the report quoting anonymous officials said.

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