24 MAY, 2016 BY: CRAIG HOYLE STOCKHOLM
Saab has begun work to modify a pair of Bombardier Global 6000 business jets to its “swing-role” GlobalEye configuration for lead customer the United Arab Emirates.
“We are building as we speak,” Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe told journalists during a 17 May briefing in Stockholm. “It’s full speed ahead in our workshop.”
The Swedish company signed a $1.27 billion deal with the UAE at the Dubai air show in November, with the heavily adapted Global 6000s to be capable of conducting airborne early warning and control (AEW&C), maritime and land surveillance and electronic intelligence duties.
Speaking during a webcast briefing on 12 May, Micael Johansson, the head of Saab’s surveillance business area, said the launch order from the UAE has prompted a rush of interest in the company’s new offering.
“The aircraft is already in Linköping, and we are integrating our systems on it,” he says. “There is a lot of interest around this platform and its capabilities from many countries – some in Asia, some elsewhere.”
Modifications will include installing Saab’s Erieye ER active electronically scanned array radar in a dorsal unit above the fuselage. “It looks the same, but it’s very much all new on the inside, including all the signal processing,” Johansson says. “We have fantastic range on this radar: it’s almost horizon-limited in terms of how far it can see,” he adds.
Johansson says the Erieye ER has 70% greater detection range than its previous sensor and the ability to spot challenging targets, such as cruise missiles, small unmanned air vehicles and hovering helicopters. Combining its below-fuselage mounted maritime search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor will enable operators to locate surface threats and submarine periscopes, while its primary sensor’s synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication modes will be used to locate land targets.
Command and control tasks can be performed using an onboard crew of between five and seven operators and the aircraft will also feature voice and satellite communications equipment and a Link 16 data link to network with other airborne, ground and maritime assets. Saab cites a maximum mission endurance of 11h for the GlobalEye.
“This is a complete system for all dimensions,” says Johansson.
Highlighting Saab’s past provision of Erieye-equipped aircraft to eight nations, Johansson notes: “Some of these countries might upgrade their capability, but there are many new countries looking at this capability that formerly looked at our competition, like the Boeing [737-based] MESA or the [Northrop Grumman E-2D] Advanced Hawkeye.”
Erieye radars have previously been installed on Saab 340 and Saab 2000 airframes for Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand (below), the UAE and an undisclosed customer – listed by Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database as Saudi Arabia – and also on the Embraer ERJ-145 for Brazil, Greece and Mexico.
“We have a good customer base, with 20-plus systems, and that’s what we’re looking at going forward – at least – with the new GlobalEye,” Johansson says. The company is aiming to secure at least half of the accessible market for AEW&C orders, he adds, while claiming: “It can do more than the competition, at a lower price.”
No delivery schedule has been revealed for the surveillance aircraft, with Saab attributing this to a confidentiality agreement with its customer.
GLOBALEYE multi-role airborne surveillance system
During the FIDAE airshow, taking place in Santiago de Chile this week, defence and security company Saab explained how it is going to extend its airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) portfolio with the introduction of the GLOBALEYE multi-role airborne surveillance system. The solution combines Saab’s all-new ERIEYE ER (Extended Range) radar and mission system with the GLOBAL 6000 jet aircraft from Bombardier, which has an operational time of more than 11 hours.
GLOBALEYE automatically detects and tracks air and surface (land and sea) targets. Ground surveillance of moving vehicles can be conducted through long-range, wide-area ground moving target indication (GMTI) radar modes. With the enhanced ERIEYE ER radar (range >450km), the system according to Saab can track very low-observable air and sea targets, including “stealthy” aircraft, cruise missiles or submarine periscopes, even in heavy clutter and jamming environments.
GLOBALEYE’s features also include amongst others EO/IR sensors, ESM/ELINT, and a selfprotection system. “With GLOBALEYE we expand and sharpen our offering in Latina America, targeting customers looking to maximise their return on investment in extended AEW&C capabilities as a national asset to benefit their country,” Fredrik Gustafson, Country Manager for Spanish-speaking Latina America with SAAB, stated.
The first customer for GLOBALEYE is the United Arab Emirates, which ordered the system as Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS), in November 2015.
The cabin of the Bombardier Global 6000 is 48 ft long, 8 ft wide and 6 ft high, making it a very spacious cabin to fly eight passengers comfortably, with enough space for two crew members.
A brand new Bombardier Global 6000 has a list price of $60.5 million and hourly operating costs of around $8,600.
Range: 7,707 mi/11,390 km/6,150 nm
Maximum speed: 590 mph/950 kmph/mach 0.89
Typical passengers: 8-19
Typical crew: 2-4
“With the enhanced ERIEYE ER radar (range >450km), the system according to Saab can track very low-observable air and sea targets, including “stealthy” aircraft, cruise missiles or submarine periscopes, even in heavy clutter and jamming environments.”