Saab’s GlobalEye multi-role airborne surveillance system is now in production and moving towards its first delivery to launch customer United Arab Emirates (UAE). The flight test programme is slated to be completed ‘soon’, paving the way for handover to the UAE soon. The UAE refers to its aircraft as the ‘Swing Role Surveillance System’, underlining its unique multi-domain capabilities.
Saab has identified several other potential sales and has made no secret of its willingness to offer the GlobalEye to the Republic of Korea (ROK) now that an air force requirement here for a next-generation surveillance system has emerged as a definite acquisition track. Company officials note, that the GlobalEye delivers capabilities that go beyond any other in-service AEW&C platform, in a solution that is both sophisticated but simple to maintain and operate. Korea has been identified as a potential customer with a near term requirement – specifically a follow-on buy to the existing ‘Peace Eye’ aircraft acquired from the US almost 15 years ago. “GlobalEye can be seamlessly integrated into any existing force struc- ture to work together with existing assets, as well as delivering a huge leap forward in next-generation capabilities,” company officials tell Daily News.
At the heart of the GlobalEye design is an all-new Erieye-ER S-band AESA radar (using Gallium Nitride technology) plus an equally advanced (and also brand new) command and control system Each aircraft carries a number of other sensors, such as the Leonardo Sea Spray 7500E maritime surveillance radar, electro-optics, ELINT/SIGNIT plus communications, datalinks and self-defence equipment. The result is a multi-role aircraft capable of performing simultaneous surveillance operations at very long ranges in the air, over land and at sea. A single GlobalEye effectively functions as an Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C), a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and a JSTARS but all in a single platform. The advanced sensor system is highly effective against high-speed and so called ‘stealthy’ targets while at the same time capable of detecting small and slow targets such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), missiles and even hovering helicopters.
The UAE Air Force launched the GlobalEye with an order for two aircraft (and several other programme components) valued at US$1.27 billion, at the 2015 Dubai Airshow. Orders for two aircraft from the UAE were followed by a third, announced at the 2017 IDEX show. Saab’s Linkoping home was the site for the maiden flight of the GlobalEye in March 2018. In fact, Saab was ready to fly sooner, but Swedish weather got in the way. The maiden flight of the second aircraft took place in January 2019.
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