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Northrop Grumman’s E-2D aircraft, the successor to the E-2 surveillance plane, has reached Milestone C certification and been awarded a fixed-price, incentive free contract from the U.S. Navy for $432 million for two low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 1 aircraft, as well as two Lot 2 aircraft, a follow-on to the $1.9 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye System Development & Design contract awarded in 2003.
The Navy will receive two aircraft each in FY 09 and 10, with the program of record indicating that the Navy will purchase 75 aircraft in total. Responding to questions from reporters at the Paris Air Show about the Navy’s confidence in the company after the Nunn-McCurdy breech, Northrop’s Jerry Spruill said that from the company’s perspective, “the signing of the ADM, the execution of the Milestone C, the transition into LRIP, from the company’s perspective, is [evidence of] the confidence that the Navy is putting in us to execute within those cost constraints to get those costs under control.”
Marcia Hart-Wise, a Navy public affairs officer, said that the changes after the Nunn-McCurdy breach “rebaseline’s the program,” and that the Navy is “very confident” that the issues are now being dealt with.
As for the platform itself, Spruill said that “the entirety of the sensors and communications have changed” from the E2C to the E2D and John Beaulieu, E2/C2 business development manager, remarked that the radar on the planes have been “outperforming specifications” during test flights. During testing of the two prototypes, the aircraft have flown 1,000 flight hours during 300 independent flights, and the company and the Navy are planning a first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier some time in late 2009.
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