Aerial Warfare

Swedish Air Force Deploys S106 GlobalEye AEW&C to Uppsala Air Base

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Swedish Air Force Deploys S106 GlobalEye AEW&C to Uppsala Air Base

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Swedish Air Force Deploys S106 GlobalEye AEW&C to Uppsala Air Base
Swedish Air Force Deploys S106 GlobalEye AEW&C to Uppsala Air Base

The Swedish Air Force has announced the deployment of the S106 GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) at Uppsala Air Base. The decision, revealed by Swedish Air Force Chief Jonas Wikman on May 15, 2024, marks a significant milestone in Sweden’s defense modernization efforts. The selection of Uppsala Air Base as the home for the S106 GlobalEye aircraft follows a meticulous evaluation process aimed at maximizing operational effectiveness over an extended period. Factors such as infrastructure readiness, organizational dynamics, recruitment conditions, and environmental considerations were thoroughly analyzed by various departments within the Air Staff. Importantly, feedback from all organizational units within the Air Force played a pivotal role in shaping this decision.

The genesis of this move can be traced back to the Swedish Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) defense bill for the period 2021-2025, where the need for a new airborne early warning and control system was highlighted as a top priority. With the existing Airborne Surveillance & Control (ASC) Saab S100D aircraft reaching their operational limits, the imperative for a modern replacement became evident. While the two S102B Korpen SIGINT modified Gulfstream IVs are slated for maintenance, no replacement plans were scheduled until after 2025. Saab announced on June 30, 2022, that the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) had placed an order for two GlobalEye AEW&C aircraft, with an option for two more. Scheduled for delivery in 2027, the GlobalEye platform represents a leap forward in airborne surveillance capabilities.

Swedish Air Force S106 GlobalEye AEW&C
Swedish Air Force S106 GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C). (Photo by Saab)

At the heart of the GlobalEye’s prowess lies Saab’s Erieye ER (Extended Range) radar, mounted atop the Canadian Bombardier Global 6000/6500 long-range business jet. Boasting an impressive detection range of up to 550 km at 35,000 ft, the GlobalEye offers unparalleled surveillance capabilities across air, sea, and ground domains. The integration of advanced technologies, such as gallium nitride transmit/receive modules, has enabled a remarkable 70% increase in detection range compared to earlier iterations of the Erieye radar. Complementing the AEW radar are additional sensors, including the Seaspray 7500E maritime surveillance radar from Leonardo, and an electro-optical/infrared sensor situated underneath the forward fuselage.

These sensors, coupled with robust mission equipment such as data links, voice and satellite communications, and a command and control suite, empower the GlobalEye to conduct simultaneous airborne, maritime, and ground surveillance operations with unmatched precision. The deployment of the S106 GlobalEye at Uppsala Air Base represents a pivotal moment in Sweden’s defense posture, reinforcing its commitment to maintaining superiority in airborne surveillance capabilities. As geopolitical landscapes evolve and threats become increasingly complex, investments in cutting-edge technologies like the GlobalEye are imperative to safeguarding national security interests and ensuring strategic preparedness in an ever-changing world.

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