Emirati Eye in the Sky Goes Public
The United Arab Emirates Air Force’s new airborne early warning platform, the Saab GlobalEye, has made its public debut four years after contracts were signed at the Dubai Airshow.
A heavily modified derivative of Bombardier’s Global 6000 business jet, the GlobalEye – previously known as the Swing-Role Surveillance System (SRSS) – takes aloft a multi-sensor suite of Saab’s self-developed Erieye ER S-band airborne early warning radar, Leonardo Seaspray 7500E active electronically scanned array surface search radar for land and sea surveillance, while an under-nose fairing contains an electro-optical camera system, allowing long-range visual identification of targets.
The UAE ordered two GlobalEyes at the 2015 Dubai Airshow and later followed with an order for an additional aircraft.
All three aircraft are now supporting the finalization of the development program and it is the third aircraft that first flew in August that is making its debut in full UAEAF markings here.
With first deliveries planned for next spring, two of the aircraft are supporting verification testing and initial training of UAEAF personnel, while the first aircraft that supported aerodynamic testing is having its flight test equipment removed and being returned to the same configuration of the other two.
“It is fantastic to finally be able to exhibit the aircraft,” said Lars Tossman, Saab’s head of airborne surveillance systems.
“We are now going through a process of system verification and acceptance test…the results reflect all the rig testing we have done,” he said.
Tossman also noted that flight tests had concluded that the aircraft “behaves” in the same way as a standard Global 6000, despite the extensive modifications.
Saab is now chasing international interest in the aircraft, and pursuing several tenders for airborne early warning aircraft, mostly notably in South Korea.
GlobalEye has also been offered to Finland as part of the Swedish government’s offer to meet Helsinki’s HX fighter requirement.