July 3, 2009



The ERIEYE AEW&C is the world’s only operational airborne Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar in service today. The Saab 2000 ERIEYE AEW&C utilises the latest generation ERIEYE radar, now capable of detecting small air targets, hovering helicopters, cruise missiles and small sea targets such as inflatable rubber boats, for a more complete surveillance picture.

ERIEYE is the first high-performance, long-range Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) system based on active phased-array pulse-Doppler radar. This new-generation system can be installed in a variety of commercial and military aircraft, including regional jet or turboprop airliners. It meets full AEW&C requirements for detecting and tracking targets at ranges of up to 450 km over land or water. ERIEYE is part of a complete AEW&C system, including radar with integrated Secondary Surveillance Radar / Identification Friend or Foe (SSR/IFF), electronic support measures, communications and data links, comprehensive command-and-control facilities and self-protection system. The ERIEYE radar, with its fixed electronically scanned antenna and use of adaptive radar control techniques, has superior resolution accuracy. When compared to traditional rotodome-based solutions, it provides enhanced detection and tracking performance, including the active simultaneous tracking of multiple targets. In addition, the radar offers significantly improved resistance to Electronic Counter Measures (ECM). The state-of-the-art command-and-control system gives the on-board mission-system crew full capability for AEW&C roles as well as maximum flexibility for other peacetime and war missions. ERIEYE is fully interoperable with and easily integrated into NATO Air Defence Command Systems


ERIEYE latest generation radar and systems

• Enhanced maritime modes

• ERIEYE Mission System

• Electronic Support Measures (ESM)

• Self Protection System (SPS)

• SATCOM and data link solutions

• Automatic Identification System (AIS)

  • Platform commonality with other members of the Saab airborne surveillance familyApplications


• National security missions

• Border control

• Airborne C2 platform

• Disaster management co-ordination

• Major event security

• Emergency Air Traffic Control (ATC)

Radar System performance:

• Active Phased Array Pulse Doppler multi-mode radar

• 450 km range and above 20 km (65,000 ft) altitude coverage

• Effective surveillance area of 500,000 sq km

• Capable of combined air and sea surveillance

• Automatic tracking of priority air targetstion Friend or Foe (IFF) system

Pakistan has taken a big leap to strengthen its fast depleting air power by securing a nod from Sweden to sell Islamabad an Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS). This state-of-the-art system will also augment Pakistan Navy’s existing potential for maritime and tactical surveillance, the sources added. Close to final approval is Pakistan’s decision to acquire 5 SAAB 2000 aircraft from Sweden.

The SAAB aircraft for the PAF will be equipped with ERIEYE AEW&C system which can manage airborne early warning; intercept communication; airspace management; surveillance and control borders; detect illegal shipment of weapons and drugs; and coordinate search and rescue operations. It will be two years before the PAF receives its first AEW&C system.

The sources said the AEW&CS would not only help Pakistan to counter-balance the Indian acquisition of the Israeli Phalcon airborne surveillance system, it will boast the Pakistan Air Force’s and the Navy’s reaction capabilities by providing early and specific warnings. "The AEW&CS from Sweden, F-7 from China, upgraded Mirages from France and fresh supplies of Mirage spare parts from Libya would help the PAF meet the air challenge from our arch rival," commented a retired PAF air marshal.

Pakistan had first shown interest in the purchase of AWE&CS from Sweden in 1995 when the then Pakistani prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, had visited Stockholm and had requested the then Swedish premier, Olf Palme, to approve the sale. "For nine years we have tried to secure these aircraft from SAAB/Erricson," said an official source. While the PAF made a determined effort to induct the SAAB AEW&CS into its fleet, but in its process to replace the Fokkers, the PIA tested the SAAB 2000, fitted with engine from Allison/Rolls Royce ATR and Dash-8 fitted with engines from Pratt and Whitney. With the PAF’s deal for SAAB-based AEW&C almost complete, it is now almost certain that the PIA would approve a strong internal recommendation for the SAAB 2000. "It makes more sense because the SAAB will be setting facility for the maintenance of the PAF’s SAAB 2000 in the country," said an official. "It’s much feasible, both financially as well as technically, to have a combined maintenance facility for the PAF’s and the PIA’s SAAB fleet."

In my opinion, Pakistani fleet of 5 Eyerie AEW&C are expected to join the forces starting from 2009. This aqusation, would be a major force multiplier for the Pakistani Air Force. Pakistan does not have any problems with any of her neighbours (other than India). Pakistan would love to peep into the Indian side as the bird would enable them to follow military movements along with the ability to keep a tab on the Indian military assets.

Sidharth K Menon