Poland to get E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to Address the AEW Requirements?
One day after the news that Boeing is pitching the F-15EX to the Polish Air Force, some more emerges from MSPO International Defence Industry Exhibition in Kielce, Poland.
In fact, as the ZBiAM outlet reports, Northrop Grumman representatives announced new successes regarding their E-2D Hawkeye in the export department. Interestingly, the US-based company is pointing to Poland as a potential export customer.
The E-2 is known for its role in the US Navy carrier-borne aviation. As ZBiAM points out, Northrop Grumman signed three export deals regarding that aircraft, 2 with Japan (13 examples), and one with France (3 examples). Then Japan procured 18 aircraft, increasing the order, following relevant State Department authorization in March 2023.
Northrop Grumman announced at MSPO in Kielce that the group of potential export customers now also includes Poland.
This may be related to the fact that back in July Poland procured two second-hand Saab 340 AEW platforms from Sweden, but these aircraft come from the Swedish Air Force’s inventory and thus they would offer just a few years of lifetime.
The contract with Saab is valued at SEK 600 million (52 million Euro). It includes ground equipment, in-country logistics, and support services. The 340 uses the Erieye AEW/AEW&C system with AESA radar. Procuring these was done as a response to an urgent operational requirement. The Swedes would be replacing the Saab 340s with two Bombardier Global 6000 GlobalEyes – the first one was delivered to Sweden on Jul. 19. 2023.
The Polish Saab 340s would be expected only to be operated for a few years (as a gap-filler solution). At MSPO, Northrop Grumman’s representatives announced that the Polish MoD started talks with the US-based defense company, and with the US government. The E-2 would provide the Polish Air Force with a major enhancement of the branch’s early warning capability.
When considering the capability gaps in the Polish Air Force, many analysts point to the lack of air-to-air refuelling capability. This could have been addressed quite easily, if Poland had not resigned from its participation in the European shared MRF (Multination MRTT fleet). Second matter frequently brought up is the gap regarding the AEW platforms. The latter would be filled partially by the F-35s and their sensor suite. However, Poland needs these platforms urgently, given what is happening beyond its eastern border. Secondly, it is more reasonable to use a platform with a greater loiter time than the F-35, for this specific mission set.