FARNBOROUGH - A ground moving target indication (GMTI) mode is the latest addition to Saab’s EriEye airborne early warning and control system, company officials said here July 16

Next up: a possible move to gallium-nitride (GaN) technology in the active electronically scanned array (AESA). “We have always performed spiral development between systems as well as within them,” says Erik Winberg, director of business development for Saab’s electronic defense systems unit, noting that the company unveiled new S-band and X-band GaN-based radars this year.

Winberg stresses that EriEye has been continuously updated since it entered service in 1996, even though there has been no major midlife upgrade. That has been key to its ability to attract the steady stream of customers – eight identified, plus “Country X,” which Saab is restricted from naming but is believed to be Saudi Arabia – that has made it the most widely used airborne early warning & control system in the world. Brazil, the first export customer, is having its E-99 systems brought up to the latest standard, including major improvements to radar performance.

Two recent improvements are the addition of Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers for locating and identifying cooperative sea targets, and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which will perform the same function for air targets. ADS-B extends the EriEye’s air picture out to 720 km (450 mi.), almost twice the range of normal ADS-B. AIS can be fused with EriEye’s active radar mode to identify individual ships out to the horizon.

Sensor-fused information can now be overlaid on sea charts and satellite images, and a terrain database can be used to calculate lines of sight. “We did not have the computing power to do that in real time until now,” Winberg says, but the system has been equipped with a new, commercial-off-the-shelf computer based in Core i7 technology and a 10 Gbps fiber-optic Ethernet system.