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Northrop, US Navy conduct E-2D aerial refueling PDR

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Photo: Northrop Grumman.

MELBOURNE, FLORIDA (BNS): The Northrop Grumman and US Navy team has successfully conducted the preliminary design review (PDR) for its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aerial Refueling system.

Completion of this critical milestone allows the programme to proceed to its critical design review, moving closer to manufacturing the system and installing it on new production E-2Ds as well as retrofitting it onto E-2Ds that are currently operating in the Navy fleet, according to a news release by the company.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the $226.7 million engineering, manufacturing and development contract in 2013 to design several system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability.

These include new seats to enhance pilot field-of-view and decrease crew fatigue; formation lights for better visualisation and air space orientation; and enhanced software in the aircraft's flight control system to assist the pilots with aircraft handling qualities when refueling.

"Adding an aerial refueling capability to the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will extend its critical mission of providing continuous information to the warfighter who depends on it," Capt. John Lemmon, programme manager, E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Programme Office (PMA-231), was quoted as saying in the release.

As the US continues its shift to Asia-Pacific, the extended range of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye can provide the enhanced maritime security required by the vast geography of the Asia-Pacific region, for both the US and its allies, the release added.

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