The award, worth $113.7 million, is an "advance acquisition contract" with fixed-price line items funding Northrop's purchase of long-lead materials necessary for it to begin Full Rate Production of five E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Lot 2 airborne early warning aircraft for the U.S. Navy. Northrop is expected to complete work on the contract by March 2014.
Northrop describes the Advanced Hawkeye as the "digital quarterback" of a Navy carrier strike group. Its role is to sweep the battlefield ahead of a strike force with its powerful airborne radars, detecting threats and assigning assets to meet these threats. In battle, the Advanced Hawkeye "manages" the Navy's warplanes in the air, identifying and keeping track of friendly and unfriendly aircraft and warning the seaborne fleet away from danger.