Friend Me? France Upgrading Its Hawkeye AWACSOct 20, 2011 16:47 UTC
Oct 19/11: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] France’s official request for up to $180 million in equipment to upgrade the Marine Nationale’s fleet of 4 E-2C Hawkeye-2000 airborne early warning planes, which fly from NAS Lann-Bihoue and FS Charles de Gaulle. The Hawkeye 2000s have already been through one major upgrade cycle, improving their mission computer, electronics throughout the aircraft, satellite communications, and propellers.
This is a less comprehensive upgrade, but it’s still important. France will be improving navigation and avionics. American hardware will include 5 AN/ALQ-217 ESM systems, which help the planes sense and then backtrack radio/radar emitters. The core of their upgrade, however, is Mode 5/S Identification Friend or Foe (IFF), which is also being added to their larger, land-based E-3F AWACS planes.