Japan has formally placed an order for the third of an initially planned four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft.
The US$153.2m (A$201m) order follows similar orders for the first two aircraft which were placed in November 2015 and July 2016 for delivery this year. The third aircraft is planned to be delivered by March 2020, and it will operate alongside 13 older E-2C Hawkeyes and four larger Boeing E-767 AEW&C systems.
The E-2D features an advanced AN/APY-9 electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, digital communications, new large screen cockpit displays, commercial off-the-shelf hardware, new mission computers, and advanced datalinks.
The US Navy is also replacing its E-2C fleet with E-2Ds, and has a program of record for 75 of the new aircraft