Lighter-Than-Air Has Role in AEW
The UAE’s requirement for an airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft was another topic bubbling just under the surface at Dubai, [UAE SET TO MAKE AEW&C CHOICE FROM NORTHROP, BOEING OR SAAB] as reported in AIN’s Dubai Air Show Tuesday edition. Notably, Boeing brought the 737 Peace Eagle AEW&C aircraft to Dubai for its airshow debut. Though a UAE decision might not be long coming, this inevitably requires a complex evaluation. What makes it even more interesting is the interplay between conventional airborne AEW platforms and the alternative means of airspace surveillance represented by airships and aerostats. This writer believes that the defense industry still does not take lighter-than-air (LTA) platforms seriously enough. They should look no further than the Gulf region, where LTA vehicles already play a significant role [LIGHTER-THAN-AIR CRAFT GAINING FAVOR IN THE MIDDLE EAST].