PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's E-2D Hawkeye early warning aircraft are entering full-rate production for the U.S. Navy.
Five of the twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft, which can take off from aircraft carriers, are being produced under the Lot 1 award from the Navy's E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data System Program Office.
The contract is worth $775 million.
"Moving from low-rate production into full-rate production validates that we have a stable production line, capable of manufacturing and delivering a mature and effective airborne early warning, battle management, command-and-control system," said Bart LaGrone, vice president of E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
The E-2D is the Navy's all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning command-and-control aircraft. It has a cruise speed of 256 knots and a flight endurance of about 6 hours.
The aircraft was deemed "suitable and effective" in an initial operational test and evaluation late last year and the Defense Acquisition Board approved it for full-rate production in January.
The Navy expects to procure another 55 Hawkeyes over the next 10 years.