PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, a tactical U.S. Navy airborne early warning aircraft, is "suitable and effective" for fleet deployment.
The evaluation, which clears the path for the Defense Acquisition Board to approve full-rate production, came in an Initial Operational Test and Evaluation report from a Navy air test and evaluation squadron at the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland.
"We tested the E-2D in mountainous terrain near Nellis Air Force Base and elsewhere throughout the country and the aircraft performed phenomenally," said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Harkins, operational test director of the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron said.
Harkins also said testing showed an increase in combat effectiveness due to the E-2D's ability to track small fighter-size targets in difficult environments.
Initial operational capability for the E-2D is planned for 2015. The Defense Acquisition Board is expected to issue its approval for full-rate production next January.
The aircraft is manufactured by Northrop Grumman.