The Japan Air Self Defense Force’s (JASDF) E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) has made its first flight on 9 October.
The successful flight was carried out by Northrop Grumman at its Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St Augustine, Florida, US.
Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye programmes vice-president Jane Bishop said: “The successful first flight of Japan’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a significant milestone in delivering advanced airborne early warning and surveillance capabilities to the country.
“The augmentation of the JASDF’s current Hawkeye fleet with the E-2D AHE further strengthens its ability to meet Japan’s evolving security and intelligence needs.”
The E-2D AHE was selected by the Japan Ministry of Defense in 2014 to cater to airborne early warning requirements in the country.
Last year, Northrop Grumman began production on two Hawkeye aircraft, which are now in the final production phase.
JASDF is said to be the largest Hawkeye operator outside of the US Navy and has been operating 13 E-2C aircraft since 1983.
The aircraft is equipped with a new radar that offers both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities.
The Hawkeye’s 360-degree radar coverage provides uncompromised all-weather tracking and situational awareness, Northrop stated.
In addition to a fully integrated ‘all-glass’ tactical cockpit, the E-2D AHE features an advanced identification friend or foe system, new mission computer and tactical workstations, electronic support measures enhancements, and modernised communications and data link suite.