Saab handed over the third of five GlobalEye multi-domain airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 20.
This latest delivery to the UAE Air Force and Air Defence (UAE AF&AD) follows the nation’s acceptance of the first two examples, which were handed over on April 29, 2020, and September 30, 2020, respectively. The UAE is the launch customer of the GlobalEye platform and has ordered a total of five aircraft to date.
Micael Johansson, president and CEO of Saab, praised the delivery milestone in a company press release, issued on February 20. He said: “Completing three deliveries of a solution as advanced as GlobalEye in less than a year proves Saab’s solid expertise as a provider of high-technology solutions and our focus on meeting our commitments, especially given the current circumstances. By handling the entire process, including sensor development and integration, we are uniquely in control of every critical part of this complex programme.”
Saab and the UAE signed an initial contract – worth US$1.27bn – in late 2015 for the delivery of the first two GlobalEye platforms to the UAE AF&AD under the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS) programme. In February 2017, the nation exercised an option to procure a third example from the Swedish aircraft manufacturer. On December 30, 2020, the UAE awarded Saab a US$1.018bn follow-on contract for the delivery of an additional two examples, which will be handed over to the nation by the end of 2025.
Saab’s GlobalEye platform is capable of simultaneously performing air, ground and maritime surveillance operations. It combines a number of advanced sensors with the company’s new Erieye Extended Range (ER) active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which have been integrated onto a Bombardier Global 6000 ultra-long-range business jet.
At present, the UAE is the sole operator and only confirmed customer of the platform. However, the Swedish-based manufacturer has included the GlobalEye alongside the Gripen E/F multi-role fighter as part of its offer in Finland’s HX Fighter procurement programme – the winner of which will be announced this year. The Swedish government has also confirmed that it intends to acquire the platform in the future to replace its ageing fleet of two Saab S 100D Argus AEW&C aircraft.