The U.S. government shutdown may be crimping awards for new American contracts to defense contractors but, fortunately for Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), not all buyers are out of commission.

Northrop announced Tuesday it has been awarded a $34.5 million contract via the U.S. Navy to perform upgrades on military hardware for France. Specifically, Northrop will install AN/APX-122A IFF Mode 5/Mode S Interrogators and AN/APX-123 IFF Mode 5/Mode S Transponders aboard three French navy E-2C "Hawkeye" airborne early warning aircraft.

France is the only country besides the United States to operate E-2C Hawkeyes from an aircraft carrier. The equipment Northrop is providing will improve the planes' Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, and allow them to communicate better with U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.

As the name suggests, Identification Friend or Foe technology helps planes to identify themselves as "friendly" to allied units, and permit the identification of hostile forces as "foes" to be attacked, avoiding casualties from friendly fire.


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