February 12, 2013
On Monday, defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC ) announced that the Pentagon has cleared its new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft for full-rate production.
The Pentagon's decision follows the E-2D's successful completion of a 10-month-long evaluation conducted by the Navy, at the conclusion of which the aircraft was declared "operationally suitable and effective."
The successor to Northrop's successful E-2C Hawkeye, the E-2D is an airborne early warning, battlefield management, and command and control aircraft. As the Navy's proverbial eye in the sky, its mission in a fight is to use its powerful radars to map and control everything that happens in a tactical airspace, to identify targets, and to "quarterback" U.S. planes as they engage these targets.
To date, some 20 E-2Ds have been, or are in the process of being, manufactured for the Navy.
With full-rate production now authorized, Northrop expects to fill out its full complement of 75 orders (i.e,. 55 additional aircraft) over the next 10 years. The first of these planes is expected to be declared operationally capable and to be officially deployed in 2015.
More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013
." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here
to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.