GlobalEye | The modern platform of SAAB and the case of the Greek AEW&C
Defence Redefined
Published on 14/05/2023 at 13:59

*Athanasios Tsakalos

Almost a year ago, the Ministry of National Defence of the Hellenic Republic announced that a meeting between the representatives of SAAB and a delegation of Officers was held at the Hellenic Air Force General Staff.

The purpose of the meeting was the presentation, on behalf of the company, of the capabilities of the aerial surveillance systems produced. Likewise, this year, SAAB actively participated in the International Defence and Security Exhibition DEFEA 2023, where it presented the GlobalEye system, an intelligence-gathering platform that can play a strategic role in modern aeronautical operations.

GlobalEye is one of the most sophisticated Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AEW&C), operating as an aerial Command & Control (C2) platform with the capability to support air and naval operations.

Based on Bombardier’s Global 6000/6500 family of aircraft, GlobalEye combines SAAB’s Erieye extended-range radar in conjunction with an advanced sensor suite. Thus, it can simultaneously provide real-time, long-range air, sea, and ground surveillance capabilities from a single platform for optimal tactical situational awareness.

Also read: SAAB | Another two SIGINT ships for Poland

In particular, the aircraft accommodates up to seven workstations, where 30-inch high-resolution screens have been installed to provide the operators with the best possible interface.

The displays present target-related data received from onboard sensors or received via tactical data links. The primary sensor of the GlobalEye system is the aforementioned Erieye ER (Extended Range) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multi-role radar.

The new Swedish radar is capable of scanning a maximum range of 450 km detecting low electromagnetic footprint targets as well as ballistic threats.

In fact, GlobalEye has the capability to scan a specific area or point at different angles, while also providing the capability to detect targets at different distances by varying their transmit power and varying the frequency of the transmitted signal from an operational altitude of 35,000 feet and a minimum 11-hour endurance.

A high-performance maritime surveillance radar is mounted on the underside of the aircraft fuselage for short-range, sea, and ground surveillance missions, imaging radar and search and rescue missions, Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR), Electro-Optical System (EOS), Automatic Identification System (AIS) as well as Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI).

Also, the GlobalEye is equipped with an advanced self-protection system, developed by SAAB, which incorporates a suite of sensors and countermeasures dispenser.

Also read: Saab | Meteor missile successfully fired from Gripen E fighter jet

The system in question is necessary for 5th-generation air forces that wish to conduct multi-domain operations and strategic missions.

We recall that the Hellenic Air Force has four (4) aircraft, which belong to the 380 Airborne Early Warning and Control System Squadron and, as we were informed during the DEFEA exhibition, there is interest in the proposal to upgrade them via SAAB, something that may be implemented regardless of the possibility of a GlobalEye new purchase. 

Upgrade of the Greek AEW&Cs

Regarding the possibility of upgrading the Greek AEW&Cs, the Swedish company proposes an upgrade program of the existing platforms, which includes the following:

  • Improved aircraft radar with at least a 30% longer target detection range and longer early-warning time range to detect small and low RCS targets;
  • IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) MkXIIB;
  • Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) and Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) system called ESM (Electronic Support Measures);
  • Upgraded Data Link 16 (retains DATA Link 11 upgrade for interoperability);
  • Upgraded command and control systems (C2), with a user-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI) with a high degree of automated support and automatic data fusion from sensors and data links;
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) with automatic data fusion.

The order of AEW&C Erieye EMB-145H was perhaps one of the most strategic procurements of military hardware for the Hellenic Air Force in recent years.

Among other things, the Erieye EMB-145H can execute missions of:

  • Creating a detailed aerial and surface image;
  • Exchange of intelligence (via DATA LINK & VOICE) with Air Defence and Navy Units;
  • Support of emission control procedures (Emission Control – EMCON) of ground-based Radars as well as Surface Units;
  • Collection and recording of electronic intelligence (ESM – ELINT).

AEW&Cs offer strategic services necessary for situational awareness in the Hellenic Air Force and under no circumstances can be discredited as they have proven their value many times over. Let’s hope that any new attempts as to their upgrade or replacement will not end up like previous competitions for their follow-on support.

Also read: SAAB | Full range of anti-tank systems at EUROSATORY 2022 that might interest the National Guard – Photos




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