Northrop Grumman likely to land nearly $2 billion deal with Japan for Hawkeye aircraft
The State Department approved a $1.7 billion sale of Northrop Grumman Corp. twin-turboprop aircraft to Japan, as defense Secretary Ash Carter continues his tour of the Asia-Pacific region, promoting defense cooperation with the region.
The deal, which now awaits congressional approval, comes nearly five months after Japan announced its plan to acquire the Hawkeye and RQ-4 Global Hawk to improve intelligence gathering capabilities, but without contract terms or number of aircraft decided.
Japan requested four E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, as well as 10 engines and other equipment and services. The Hawkeye, which conducts battle management command and control with network enablement and radar sensor capability, will provide Japan situational awareness of air and naval activity in the Pacific region. The aircraft will augment the country’s existing fleet of E-2C Hawkeyes.
The Pentagon announcement called the pending sale “vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.” It comes a week after Carter and Japanese national security leaders unveiled guidelines for defense cooperation— the first revision since 1997 — which explain how the U.S. and Japan will work together for bilateral security.
The Hawkeye remains a key program for Northrop (NYSE: NOC), as the one manned aircraft primed by the Falls Church company. It’s in the process of building a new fleet of E-2Ds for the U.S. Navy.
Northrop, which has been in the Jacksonville area for 33 years, is the third largest manufacturing employer in the area, with close to 2,000 workers. Its St. Augustine Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence is home to E-2D production.