The GlobalEye is a multi-sensor airborne early warning and multirole surveillance aircraft based on the airframe of the Bombardier Global 6000 business jet.
It has an S-band Saab Erieye ER active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar mounted in a ‘ski-box’ fairing above the fuselage.
It also has an under-nose FLIR Systems Star Safire 380HD electro-optical sensor turret and a belly mounted Leonardo Seaspray 7500E surface surveillance radar.
The UAE originally placed an order for two ex-Swedish Air Force Saab 340-based airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, carrying the legacy Erieye system, in November 2009. These provided an interim surveillance capability while it conducted longer-term assessments on the Boeing 737 AEW&C, the Grumman E-2D and the Saab 2000-based Erieye.
The UAE finally ordered the Erieye system in November 2015, opting for the new, extended range Erieye ER version of the radar, becoming the launch customer for the GlobalEye, which mounted the new radar on a Bombardier Global 6000 airframe.
The UAE initially placed a $1.27billion launch order for two aircraft at the Dubai Air Show in November 2015, ordering a third aircraft (for $238 million) during the IDEX show in February 2017.
The three airframes were converted from ‘green’ Global 6000 airframes at Saab’s Linköping plant, with the modification including major structural, aerodynamic and wiring changes, all of which necessitated a major flight-test campaign.
The first GlobalEye was rolled out in February 2018, and made its maiden flight, post-modification, on March 14. After a brief series of test flights from Linköping, the aircraft was deployed to Granada in Andalusia to take advantage of southern Spain’s excellent weather.
The second GlobalEye made its maiden flight on January 3 this year. Fitted with mission equipment, this aircraft remained in Sweden for trials.
The third aircraft is still undergoing modification and is expected to fly in late 2019.
The lead ground station element for the GlobalEye has already been delivered to the UAE, while the flight-testing required for the grant of a supplemental type certificate from Sweden’s military airworthiness authority will soon be completed.
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