The Japan Ministry of Defense chose the E-2D all-weather, airborne early warning (AEW), command and control aircraft in 2014 following a competitive process.
It placed the order for the aircraft for an emerging next-generation airborne early warning requirement.
Northrop Grumman manned airborne surveillance programmes vice-president Jane Bishop said: “Northrop Grumman’s longstanding partnership with Japan is beginning a new chapter with the delivery of the first Japan E-2D.
“This aircraft provides a significant increase in early warning and surveillance capability to outpace Japan’s evolving security needs.”
Japan is a key customer for Northrop Grumman. The country has been operating the company’s E-2C Hawkeye since 1983 and has the largest E-2 fleet outside of the US.
The E-2D is equipped with advanced radar technology that allows the aircraft to track threats at an extended range.
The aircraft has the ability to perform humanitarian assistance and support disaster relief operations.
Moreover, the E-2D offers interoperability with next-generation aircraft systems and US Navy allies to enable regional security cooperation, Northrop added.
The contract also includes continued support for the Japanese E-2D fleet in the areas of sustainment and maintenance.
Northrop won a US Navy contract modification in January 2016 to provide non-recurring engineering and recurring support to configure the first Japanese E-2D.
In September, the US State Department approved a potential sale of up to nine E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and other equipment to Japan for around $3.135bn.
The JASDF’s E-2D made its first flight in October 2017 at Northrop’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St Augustine, Florida, US.