Under a 2013 engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) contract award, Northrop Grumman designed, developed, manufactured, and tested several sub-system upgrades necessary to accommodate an aerial refueling capability.
The aerial refueling capability will allow the E-2D to provide longer on-station times at greater ranges, extending its mission time to better support the warfighter.
The upgrades installed to support aerial refueling include probe and associated piping, electrical and lighting upgrades, and long endurance seats that will enhance field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions.
The first inflight fuel transfer occurred during a July 14 2017 test at NAS Patuxent River, when the test aircraft engaged the refueling drogue trailing a Navy KC-130 Hercules and received 162 pounds of fuel. Initial operating capability is set for 2020.