BETHPAGE, N.Y., Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Under a $34.5 million U.S. Navy contract, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) will modify the French Navy's fleet of three E-2C Hawkeyes with an upgraded Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, further increasing commonality and interoperability with U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121024/LA98563LOGO) IFF systems enable warfighters to distinguish between friendly forces and enemies. Included in the upgrade will be the installation of AN/APX-122A IFF Mode 5/Mode S Interrogators and AN/APX-123 IFF Mode 5/Mode S Transponders. "Northrop Grumman has had a long and collaborative partnership with the French Navy, extending back to October 1997," said Bart LaGrone, vice president, E-2/C-2 programs, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Through that partnership, we've observed the proactive and innovative approach the French Navy takes to maintaining relevancy of its E-2 Hawkeye fleet and personnel." The French Navy has been operating the E-2C Hawkeye since 2000 when it stood up the first French E-2 Hawkeye squadron, the Flotille 4F, in Lorient. France is the only country other than the United States to operate its E-2 Hawkeyes from an aircraft carrier. This unique bond has led to multiple interoperability exercises where the two navies have operated Hawkeyes from each other's carrier flight decks. The first of these took place in May 2001 when a U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye flew from the deck of the USS Enterprise to the deck of the French carrier Charles de Gaulle. This shared operational experience has proved invaluable to ensuring that the multimission E-2 Hawkeye platform remains relevant to the warfighter, no matter where missions take them. Through collaborative efforts, each new generation of the Hawkeye has become more sophisticated, taking advantage of new technology developments to optimize the capability and reliability of the E-2 platform.