Updated February 23
Saab rolled out its first Bombardier Global 6000 jet-based GlobalEye swing-role early warning aircraft featuring the new Erieye ER long-range radar on Friday, February 23.
The long-awaited airborne early warning, surveillance and control platform combines air, maritime and ground surveillance, and features a range of sophisticated sensors including the new Erieye Extended Range adaptive AESA radar, Leonardo’s Seaspray 7500E X-band maritime search radar and FLIR’s long-range Star SAFIRE electro-optical sensor turret, enabling it to undertake various missions including military operations, border surveillance and search and rescue.
The platform is based on Bombardier’s long-range Global 6000 business jet aircraft, which Saab says gives GlobalEye 11-hours endurance and the ability to utilize smaller airfields.
This first aircraft is being prepared for ground and flight trials as part of the ongoing development and production program and is destined for the United Arab Emirates under a contract signed for two systems at the Dubai Air Show in November 2015. The UAE ordered a third aircraft in 2017.
Speaking in 2016, Saab senior director Erik Winberg said GlobalEye is not just a new generation of the Erieye radar on a new platform.
“We have made substantial enhancements to the system,” Winberg said. “We can deliver longer range with increased detection and tracking performance against the most challenging targets. This includes high-speed, high altitude air vehicles and ‘low and slow’ targets like UAVs, cruise missiles, hovering helicopters and microlights. The Erieye ER is designed to detect and defeat ‘stealthy’ platforms of all kinds.”
The GlobalEye platform is designed to detect at distance low-observable air targets in heavy clutter and jamming conditions. Winberg said the new Erieye ER radar increases detection range by 70 percent against stealthy, low-observable air targets and can simultaneously track thousands of air and sea targets.
It can detect and track jet-ski-sized vessels at long distance and is able to detect objects as small as a periscope, and is designed to monitor complex threats including swarming craft.
Erieye ER gives a 300-degree field of view – 150 degrees on each side of the aircraft – and the adaptive AESA S-band radar can focus on specific targets or areas.
The aircraft’s self-protection system is based on Saab’s experience with systems for its Gripen fighter and other combat aircraft and includes a suite of sensors and countermeasures dispensers designed for automatic operation, although it can also be controlled by the pilot.
GlobalEye comes in two configurations in addition to the primary – one includes additional maritime and ground capabilities via an additional maritime surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors, and the second gives enhanced signals intelligence capability.