SAAB delivered the first of its GlobalEye Swing Role Surveillance System aircraft to the United Arab Emirates on 29 April 2020.
The GlobalEye is based on Bombardier’s Global 6000 business jet, but those commercial planes are completely torn apart in order to fortify the airframe and incorporate the various mission systems that allow it to detect land, sea and air targets.
Central to that capability is Saab’s Erieye sensor mounted on top of each aircraft, an S-band radar that the company said is more difficult to jam due to its high frequency and the long antenna.
The UAE has ordered three GlobalEye aircraft, with the initial contract signed in late 2015. In November 2019, the country also announced its intention to complete a contract amendment for the purchase of an additional two systems.
Saab’s chief executive Micael Johansson said, “The delivery of the first GlobalEye is a major milestone for Saab, but also an important step in the history of airborne early warning and control.
“We have set a new standard for the market and I am proud to say that we have delivered the most advanced airborne surveillance solution in the world to the United Arab Emirates.”
The delivery caps four-and-a-half years of work since UAE and Saab signed a contract for three of the planes.
The GlobalEye is a direct competitor to Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail and this buy signifies that Saab has been able to enter the market for such surveillance aircraft, especially in the heavy spending Middle East.
Performance figures disclosed by Saab give the GlobalEye an endurance of more than 13 hours and a top speed of 450 knots.
Johansson cited Finland and South Korea as countries also interested in GlobalEye technology.