Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Proliferation Continues

Credit: Saab

As recently as 2003, airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft were the preserve of a relatively small group of military operators. At that time the global fleet consisted of less than 200 of these highly specialized platforms, operated by just 14 air forces around the world.

Since that time, however, the capability has proliferated more broadly as recognition of the valuable situational awareness these aircraft provide has become more widespread, and–crucially–affordability has improved.

As more air forces pursue the capability, the global fleet of AEW aircraft is expected to expand from 330 aircraft in 2021 to 373 by 2030.