Saab delivered the third GlobalEye aircraft to the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF, al-Quwwāt al-Jawiyah wa al-Defa’ al-Jawiy al-ʾImārāty) on 20 February 2021. The aircraft was the third of three GlobalEyes prepared for the UAE, and first flown as SE-RMZ in January 2019. The United Arab Emirates Air Force has ordered a total of five GlobalEye aircraft. This asset had been used primarily for system-level testing, including of its data links, and command and control trials in support of the development activity. Acceptance testing will now be conducted by UAEAF personnel, with this process supported by Saab’s in-country team. It has already delivered training for the customer’s pilots and ground-system operators.
“Completing three deliveries of a solution as advanced as GlobalEye in less than a year proves Saab’s solid expertise as a provider of high-technology solutions and our focus on meeting our commitments, especially given the current circumstances. By handling the entire process, including sensor development and integration, we are uniquely in control of every critical part of this complex programme”, says Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.
Once operational, GlobalEye will provide the UAE with the capability to simultaneously perform surveillance of airborne, land and maritime threats. Its sensor suite includes Saab Erieye ER airborne early warning and Leonardo Seaspray 7500E maritime search radars. Saab launched the Bombardier Global 6000 long-range business jet-based GlobalEye with a two-aircraft order at the Dubai air show in November 2015. The UAE subsequently signed for a third unit, before Saab last November announced that it was in negotiations to deliver a further two. While Bombardier has progressed production to the Global 6500 airframe, Saab has options to acquire two more green examples in the 6000 configuration to meet UAE requirements.
GlobalEye is a multi-role airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) platform from Swedish defence and security company Saab. GlobalEye is Saab’s latest airborne early warning and control solution. It provides exceptional air, maritime and ground surveillance in a single platform. GlobalEye combines Saab’s Erieye Extended Range Radar and a range of additional advanced sensors with the ultra-long range Global 6000 aircraft from Bombardier. The Global 6000/6500 aircraft from Bombardier adds over 11 hours of operational endurance, state-of-the-art avionics, and ideal working conditions for all crew members, making it perfectly suited for AEW&C missions.
The primary sensor of the GlobalEye is its Erieye ER airborne early warning (AEW) radar; weighing approximately 1 tonne, it is mounted atop the twinjet’s fuselage. Saab has cited up to 450 km (216 nm) range for the AEW radar system when flown at an operating altitude of 30,000ft; in comparison with earlier versions of the Erieye radar, Saab claims it has achieved a 70% increase in detection range, achieved via the use of new technology, such as gallium nitride transmit/receive modules. The GlobalEye is capable of detecting and tracking a combination of airborne and surface targets, the latter on both land and sea, while mission times of up to eleven hours in duration are possible.
The GlobalEye also has an electro-optical/infrared sensor, which is situated underneath the forward fuselage. Other mission equipment includes data links, voice and satellite communications and a command and control suite, the latter comprising five onboard operator stations. The GlobalEye can be operated without any onboard operators, streaming its surveillance output to ground-based stations instead. It has been offered with three layers of capability: the baseline AESA and C2 system for air, land and sea surveillance, along with some electronic intelligence functions; a version with additional infrared and sea-search functionality; and one with a dedicated signals intelligence (SIGINT) system.