The Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system ordered by the United Arab Emirates is now in production, the Swedish company has confirmed.
Jonas Härmä, Head of Marketing and Sales for Saab’s AEW&C segment, told reporters today that Bombardier has already delivered the first two ‘vanilla’ Global 6000 airframes to Saab’s Linköping facility where system integration is taking place.
Saab closed a deal in 2010 with the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAEAF&AD) for two ex-Swedish Air Force Saab 340 Erieyes, enabling the UAE to finally study AEW&C technologies at close hand. These aircraft are currently in service.
The sale of the first two GlobalEye platforms, worth $1.27bn, was announced at the Dubai Airshow in November 2015.
Saab announced another AEW&C sale worth $236m on January 4 this year, saying the system “provides access to a detailed situational awareness that for example can be used for border surveillance, search and rescue operations and for tackling terrorism and organised crime”. Saab did not disclose the customer at the time, but on the second day of IDEX a UAE spokesperson announced a third GlobalEye was being purchased.
AFM previously reported that the UAE is paying around $1.5bn for the three GlobalEyes.
Saab was unwilling to comment on reports that, as well as the three new GlobalEyes, the UAE has opted to upgrade the radars of its existing Saab 340 Erieyes to the more modern standard. It is noteworthy that although the Swedish Air Force has confirmed its desire to expand its AEW&C fleet, a transfer of the UAE Erieyes back to Sweden has not yet been discussed.
The GlobalEye surveillance system combines the all-new Erieye ER (Extended Range) radar and mission system with the Bombardier Global 6000 airframe. According to the manufacturer, “GlobalEye provides a sophisticated, high-performance system that can conduct simultaneous long-range detection, tracking and surveillance in the air, land and maritime domains, all from a single platform”.