ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Dec. 19, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The second E-2D Advanced Hawkeye development aircraft, known as Delta Two, built for the U.S. Navy by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), completed its first flight in just over two hours from the company's Florida manufacturing and flight test center Nov. 29 followed by a second flight Dec. 4.

A video accompanying this release is available at

"The first flight of our second development aircraft signals another major program performance milestone for the E-2 program and for Team Hawkeye. It's clear by our consistent team effort that we're focused on delivering to the Navy its arsenal of 21st century network-centric warfare and battle management capabilities when we said we would," said Tom Vice, vice president of Airborne Early Warning and Battle Management Command and Control Programs - Navy for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.

"Team Hawkeye and our Navy program team are performing in stellar fashion. We are right where we want to be in flight test. The combination of commitment and communication from the integrated Navy and industry team is the key to the success we have seen in this program," said Capt. Randy Mahr, NAVAIR Hawkeye program manager.

Piloting the test aircraft was Mike Holton, an 18-year Northrop Grumman experimental test pilot veteran with 25 years of E-2 test pilot experience. Co-piloting Delta Two was 21-year veteran and the Airborne Early Warnings program's Chief Test Pilot Les Ryan, who has tested E-2s for over 26 years. Joining them in the flight was Wyle Weapon System Operator Ray Collazo, an experimental test weapon system expert with 17 years of test experience. All three are Naval Academy graduates and flew with Navy E-2 squadrons during their military careers. Collazo and Holton flew together in VAW-112 and Ryan flew for VAW-114.

During the flight of the program's second system design and development aircraft, the team conducted a series of air vehicle tests to evaluate airplane flying qualities, engine response, and cockpit instruments.

"Our go-forward plan is to fly another flight to check out engine air start capability, and high angle of attack flying qualities, and then we will complete the installation of the weapon system. Once the weapon system is in, we will fly approximately two hundred flights to evaluate the new radar. And just like Delta One, which flew its first flight on Aug. 3, Delta Two flew just like an E-2C," Holton said.

In July of this year, Northrop Grumman was also awarded a $408 million pilot production contract to build three aircraft, and the keel was laid for the first production aircraft (AA3) on September 27. The original $2 billion SD&D contract was awarded on Aug. 4, 2003.

"In late 2001, Northrop Grumman was asked by the U.S. Navy to build a new Hawkeye. Northrop Grumman's goal was to deliver a capability that would be a generational leap forward with new technologies-those that are more adaptable to changing threats from the enemies of today and tomorrow, and that could protect our nation and its allies well into the middle of the century," Vice said.

"The E-2D system gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations," Vice added. "The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye delivers battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system. These advances provide warfighters with the necessary situational awareness to compress the time between initial awareness and active engagement. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye will provide joint U.S. forces and coalition partners' airborne battle management command and control from the sea, in both over-land and over-water environments."

Vice said the Navy plans to procure at least 75 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, all which are manufactured at Northrop Grumman's Manufacturing and Flight Test Center in St. Augustine, Fla. Today, more than one third of all current Hawkeyes are flown internationally by Japan, Taiwan, Egypt, Singapore and France.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Dianne Baumert-Moyik
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (516) 346-2142
          Cell: (516) 754-2645