Two upgraded E-2K airborne early-warning aircraft that were sent to the US for upgrades were delivered to Kaohsiung International Airport Station on Saturday for follow-up tests and inspections.
In October 2008, the US agreed to the first arms sales deal to Taiwan since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office, which included the US$250 million upgrade of four E-2T aircraft to the Hawkeye 2000 standard.
To avoid its combat capabilities being affected by the upgrade process, the Taiwanese military sent the four E-2T aircraft to the US in two batches.
The first batch of two E-2Ts sent in June 2010 returned to serve in Taiwan at the end of 2011, while the other two E-2Ts were sent to the US in 2011.
The upgrade of the four E-2Ts has now been completed. In June 2010, two E-2Ts were sent to the US to undergo upgrades and were eventually redesignated as E-2Ks.
The Northrop Grumman-built E-2K is an all-weather early-warning and control system platform equipped with eight-blade propellers, upgraded radar and surveillance systems, software and avionics.
The E-2K aircraft’s performance is equivalent to that of the E-2C, which is in service with the US Air Force.
Airborne early-warning and control aircraft have radar systems designed to provide functions such as early warning of the approach of low-flying enemy attacks, guiding fighters to execute interception and control missions, carrying out regional air surveillance and electronic reconnaissance and assisting search and rescue guidance as well as communications relay.
In recent years, airborne early-warning aircraft have been widely used for search-and-rescue missions.
The Ministry of National Defense said that Taiwan’s overall defense network will be significantly improved following the arrival of the E-2Ks and the integration of the nation’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.