Taiwan upgrades Hawkeye early warning aircraft to E-2D level

Ministry of National Defense signed the contract in January

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An E-2D Hawkeye flies over US Navy Base Norfolk (Wikimedia, US Navy photo) 

An E-2D Hawkeye flies over US Navy Base Norfolk (Wikimedia, US Navy photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s J-20 stealth jets will soon have nowhere to hide as Taiwan is upgrading its six E-2K Hawkeye early warning aircraft to E-2D level, reports said Friday (Aug. 21).

The Ministry of National Defense is spending NT$1.51 billion (US$51.4 million) on the project to have the United States modernize the planes’ radar systems to make them as sophisticated as those in use on the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye based on U.S. aircraft carriers, according to a report in the Liberty Times.

Taiwan and the U.S. signed the contract just before last January’s presidential election, with the upgrade to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024. The aircraft will be sent to the U.S. one by one for the enhancements to be gradually completed, the report said.

One of the major new functionalities will be to allow the radar to capture all flying objects within a radius of 550 kilometers and vessels within a radius of 350 km. Even the most advanced Chinese stealth jets like the J-20 and the J-31 will not escape its eye.

While Japan has purchased the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye outright, Taiwan preferred to upgrade its available E-2K in order to save money on what is described as an expensive aircraft, the Liberty Times reported.