France signed Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to buy three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (AHE) aircraft for the U.S. Navy worth up to $2 billion on Dec. 2, the Navy said Tuesday.

The LOA comes after the State Department previously approved the Foreign Military Sale to France last July (Defense Daly, July 6).

E-2D Hawkeye (U.S. Navy)
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (U.S. Navy)

At the time, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said France would use the aircraft as a sustainable follow-on capability to its legacy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft while expanding French naval aviation capabilities and maintaining interoperability with U.S. forces.

“The E-2/C-2 program office is looking forward to continuing a longstanding partnership with France and beginning a new chapter with the E-2D,” Capt. Pete Arrobio, program manager of the E-2/C-2 Airborne Command & Control Systems Program Office (PMA-231), said in a statement.

The three aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by 2028, replacing the current three E-2C Hawkeyes in the French navy, Marine Nationale.

The French Navy is the second international customer of the E-2D after the Japan Air Self-Defense Force previously bought 13 E-2Ds.

The E-2D is built by Northrop Grumman [NOC]. The Navy said it is a two-generation lead in technology over the E-2C, featuring radar aircraft system upgrades improving supportability and increasing readiness.

“The centerpiece of the E-2D AHE is the APY-9 radar system, designed specifically to provide enhanced surveillance detection and tracking capability against advanced threat aircraft and cruise missile systems in the overland, littoral, and open ocean environments,” the Navy added.