The French Navy will improve its interoperability with the US Navy following upgrading of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems on its fleet of three E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft. The new system will improve commonality and interoperability with Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft currently being fielded with the US Navy. The U.S. Navy awarded a $34.5 million contract to Northrop Grumman, to implement those modifications. The process will include the installation of the BAE Systems AN/APX-122A IFF Mode 5/Mode S Interrogators and AN/APX-123 IFF Mode 5/Mode S Transponders. These IFF systems enable warfighters to distinguish between friendly forces and enemies.
The French Navy has been operating the E-2C Hawkeye since 2000 when it stood up the first French E-2 Hawkeye squadron, the Flotille 4F, in Lorient. France is the only country other than the United States to operate its E-2 Hawkeyes from an aircraft carrier. This unique bond has led to multiple interoperability exercises where the two navies have operated Hawkeyes from each other’s carrier flight decks. The first of these took place in May 2001 when a U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye flew from the deck of the USS Enterprise to the deck of the French carrier Charles de Gaulle.
This shared operational experience has proved invaluable to ensuring that the multimission E-2 Hawkeye platform remains relevant to the warfighter, no matter where missions take them. Through collaborative efforts, each new generation of the Hawkeye has become more sophisticated, taking advantage of new technology developments to optimize the capability and reliability of the E-2 platform.