Saab Surveillance Systems is offering a new maritime mode for the Erieye AEW&C system that can detect moving objects as small as jet skis or rubber boats that might be used by terrorist groups. Mats Wicksell, technical program manager, told an AEW conference organized by Defence iQ in London that AEW systems can play an important role in maritime surveillance because of their wide-area coverage. Like other AEW systems, the Erieye radar already offers detection of larger vessels.
UAE’s Air Force and Air Defense (AFAD) has a long-standing interest in acquiring an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capability.
Saab is offering a version of its 2000 MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) to the Indian navy to answer that service’s medium-range, maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) requirement.
In November, Saab received the expected follow-on order for six more Gripen fighters for Thailand. Under a government-to-government deal finalized in 2008, Thailand already ordered two Gripen Cs and four Gripen D two-seaters as part of an air defense package that includes a Saab 340 Erieye radar platform. At the time, Thailand signaled its intentions to double its Gripen order with funding outlined in the subsequent five-year cycle.
Saab sprung a major surprise earlier this month by announcing an order worth some $680 million for its Erieye AEW&C (airborne early warning and control) system from an unidentified customer. The number of Saab 2000 platforms was also unspecified. Saab said the contract covers ground equipment, logistics and support, and will run for approximately 4.5 years.
Breaking with a tradition that has seen major military procurements signed and announced only in Abu Dhabi, the UAE government sealed deals for new training and AEW&C aircraft during the Dubai Airshow this month. Pilatus secured the new basic trainer, an order for 25 PC-21s worth $521 million, to also include several training simulators with all systems and services.
The Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft with Erieye radar, which is destined for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), took to the skies for the first time on Friday, flying from Saab’s Linkoping plant where airborne early warning and control conversion work is undertaken. Thailand has one AEW&C aircraft on order (plus another option), as part of a deal involving Gripen fighters.
The Swedish Security Services have detained a man for reportedly trying to blackmail Saab. The 48-year-old engineer was arrested in Gothenburg last Thursday, but AIN understands that he does not work for the company. However, he has “illegally gained access to documents regarding the operations of Saab Microwave Systems,” the company said. The man, who has no criminal record, denies the allegation.
On April 30, Saab achieved a significant milestone with the first flight of the Saab 2000 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, developed under Project Horizon for the Pakistan air force. The two-hour flight from Linköping, Sweden, was used to check out general handling and aircraft systems, and encountered no problems.
Within the span of a month, Saab is rolling out two new developments with export potential. On March 27, the first Saab 2000 twin-turboprop airliner to be modified with the Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system made its public debut. Later this month, Saab’s upgraded Gripen fighter will emerge.
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