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Tue, Dec 18, 2007

Three Countries Eye Northrop's E-2 Surveillance Plane

India, Egypt, And UAE Reportedly Interested In Hawkeye

The stalwart E-2 Hawkeye surveillance plane, a mainstay of the US Navy's aircraft fleet for three decades, has attracted the interest of three new potential customers... and that's good news for manufacturer Northrop Grumman.

Citing information from the Department of Defense, Newsday reports the government of India is interested in purchasing the newest E-2D Advanced Hawkeye variant of the aircraft. Government officials confirmed Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have also expressed interest in purchasing upgraded versions of existing Hawkeyes.

Northrop spokeswoman Dianne Baumert-Moyik confirmed India is interested in purchasing the Hawkeye, which features early-warning radar systems. "They have requested information from us," she said.

On Monday, China's Xinhua news agency quoted an upcoming issue of India Strategic Defense magazine, stating the US government is willing to sell the advanced E-2D model to India, for use by its navy. The sale would need to be approved by the DoD and State Department, under the Foreign Military Sales Act.

"India has been doing a lot of talking about buying weaponry lately," said JSA Research military analyst Paul Nisbet, citing India's concern of the presence of Taliban fighters in neighboring Pakistan.

Furthermore, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency's website indicates Congress was notified earlier this month of a "possible foreign military sale" to the United Arab Emirates, consisting of "upgrades and refurbishments" of E-2C aircraft. The C-model is the type now in use by the Navy; it entered service in the early 1970s.

In October, Congress was also notified of a possible E-2C sale to Egypt, one of five foreign countries that already operate the type.

If approved, the new foreign orders would breathe new life into Northrop's plant in St. Augustine, FL, which manufactures the Advanced Hawkeye's airframe; and its facility in Bethpage/ Long Island NY, that builds the radar and other electronic systems.

Northrop is also awaiting Congressional approval on a 75-plane E-2D deal from the US Navy, that could be worth $10 billion over 10 years.



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