According to a recent press release, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have completed the preliminary design review (PDR) for its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aerial Refueling system, allowing the project to move one step closer to manufacturing and installment on E-2Ds.
Under a newly awarded contract, the team is designing several system upgrades that are needed to make the aerial refueling system a reality. The upgrades include new seats to enhance the pilot’s field-of-view, formation lights for better visualization and air space orientation, and enhanced software within the aircraft’s flight control system to assist the pilots with aircraft handling when attempting to refuel in the air.
With regards to the upgrades that are expected to be made to the software within the aircraft’s flight control system, the team will likely have automated regression testing in place to ensure product quality is sustained throughout the life of the application.
Bart LaGrone, vice president, E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said in the release, "The greater endurance provided by aerial refueling provides the warfighter with enhanced surveillance and targeting capability and the persistence needed to accomplish this more effectively. This results in an advanced airborne early warning system that yields greater surveillance for a longer period of time at a greater distance than presently available."
The release notes that as the U.S. continues to shift attention 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 region for both the U.S. and its allies.
Image courtesy of: Northrop Grumman