ALTHOUGH NEW GRUMMAN E-2 Hawkeye production was expected to cease 12 months ago, the US Navy is now seeking to acquire 36 more E-2Cs. These will be purchased at the rate of four per year, with the first examples expected to be funded in FY1995. It had previously been planned to upgrade existing USN Hawkeyes to extend their service life until it was revealed that this could cost up to two-thirds of the cost of a new E-2C.
In anticipation of the USN order, Northrop Grumman has commenced transfer of the E-2C production line from its existing location at Calverton, New York, to the company’s facility at St Augustine, Florida. The move is being made because the Calverton final assembly and flight testing centre is scheduled for closure due to dwindling defence orders.
The last E-2C to come off the Calverton line will be for the Republic of China Air Force and it should be completed in November. All final assembly tooling will then be transferred to St Augustine. In addition to the USN aircraft, it is also anticipated that the French Navy will order four E-2Cs for operation from the new carrier Charles de Gaulle, which was launched in May and is to enter service in 1999, and from the Foch. Two of the E-2s are expected to be funded in FY1995 and the other two in FY1996.