Taiwan has taken delivery of the last two upgraded E-2K airborne early warning (EWC) aircraft from the US, at Kaohsiung International Airport Station in southern Taiwan.
The delivery forms part of a $250m contract between the two nations in October 2008 to convert a total of four E-2T Hawkeye aircraft to the advanced E-2K configuration.
Signed as part of a broader $6.5bn foreign arms deal, the contract also includes the sale of advanced interceptor Patriot missiles, Apache attack helicopters and submarine-launched missiles.
The aircraft will now undergo follow-up tests and inspections, and are scheduled to be shipped to their home base in Pingtung County in a week, as reported by Liberty Times.
Two aircraft were initially upgraded and handed over to Taiwan in December 2011 before entering operational service within ten days, following completion of a comprehensive flight testing programme.
The aircraft were originally acquired by Taiwan in an effort to augment its early warning and air defence capabilities against naval or air attacks from China in November 1995.
Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the E-2K is an all-weather early warning and control aircraft equipped with eight-blade propellers, upgraded radar and surveillance systems, as well as advanced software and avionics.
Considered an equivalent to the US Navy’s E-2C 2000 Hawkeye, the aircraft features a Raytheon mission computer upgrade (MCU), a Lockheed Martin advanced control indicator set (ACIS), cooperative engagement capability (CEC), satellite communications and new navigation and flight control systems.
Communication suite includes AN/ARC-158 UHF and AN/ARQ-34 HF data links and a joint tactical information distribution system (JTIDS) for secure voice and data communications in the battlefield.
Image: Taiwan Air Force’s E-2K aircraft stationed at Songshan Air Force Base.