The Canadian Bombardier Global 6000 (the "Global Express" series) twin-engine business jet forms the basis for the new, currently in-development "GlobalEye" platform being fleshed out by the storied Saab concern of Sweden. The aircraft is being designed for the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) role centered on battlespace management. A first-flight for the special-mission platform was had on March 14th, 2018 from Linkoping, Sweden keeping the advanced program on schedule for deliveries to begin in 2019.
The aircraft retains most of the form and function of the sleek Global 6000 bizjet with key physical additions being the various antenna / sensor protrusions along the dorsal spine as well as a slim, long rectangular radar array set over the aircraft - this being the in-house Saab "Erieye" ER (Extended Range) Airborne Early Warning Radar (a weather-independent system able to track moving targets as small as personal watercraft). Blister-type housings - containing the Leonardo "Seaspray" 7500E Maritime Surviellance Radar and Electro-Optical InfraRed (EOIR) sensors - are also noted under along the ventral line of the fuselage. The wing mainplanes are sweptback and low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage while being capped by fuel-efficient winglets common to many commercial platforms today. The cockpit is positioned at the front of the aircraft in the usual way (with two-crew side-by-side seating) and the passenger section further aft is dedicated to a series of mission-minded consoles staffed by specially-trained operators. The fuselage sides are dotted with several conventional porthole-style windows. The tail unit has a single vertical fin with a T-style arranged horizontal plane. These planes also have smaller vertical elements set over and under them as well. Large ventral strakes are noted under the tail unit. The engines, numbering two, are set outboard of the aft section of the fuselage.
Other key systems included is SATCOM support, a complete CounterMeasures (CM) fit (at the tail), ELectronic INTelligence (ELINT) capabilities, protected datalinks for communicating with allied aircraft and ground-based stations, and IFF (Identification Friend-or-Foe).
Roll-out of the GlobalEye was in late February of 2018 and the launch customer is slated to become the United Arab Emirates who has contracted for three units back in November of 2015.
Once strictly the domain of large defense players such as the United States and Great Britain, AEW&C platforms are increasingly becoming affordable subjects for smaller military powers mainly due to the use of business jets supporting the airframe conversion to the over-battlefield role (both a cost-cutting and development time-saving commitment).
The GobalEye platform will offer both over-land and over-water capabilities - which are quite different operating environments - and provide even the most modest of global air forces with a critical "eye in the sky". The system will be able to search for, and track, multiple airborne, land-based, and seaborne, targets simultaneously out to ranges of 250 miles. The aircraft will be able to loiter in the battlespace for up to eleven total hours offering excellent endurance. Basic comforts including ergonomic seating, a six-person rest area, and cabin noise reduction will be provided for the operating crew.
January 2019 - The second Saab GlobalEye platform made its first flight for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) covering nearly three hours in the air on January 3rd, 2019 over Linkoping, Sweden. Three are currently on order for the gulf state.
November 2019 - The Saab GlobalEye was showcased in its completed form at Dubai Air Show 2019. Entry into service with the UAE is forthcoming.
April 2020 - The first operational-quality GlobalEye aircraft has been delivered to UAE forces. Up to five may be procured by the country.
September 2020 - A second GlobalEye aircraft has been delivered to the UAE.
January 2021 - The UAE has contracted for an additional two GlobalEye platforms. Announced on January 4th, 2021.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
Specially-equipped platform providing over-battlefield Command and Control (C2) capability for allied aerial elements.
✓Special-Mission: Electronic Warfare (EW)
Equipped to actively deny adversaries the ElectroMagnetic (EM) spectrum and protect said spectrum for allied forces.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
99.4 ft (30.30 m)
94.2 ft (28.70 m)
25.6 ft (7.80 m)
58,004 lb (26,310 kg)
99,506 lb (45,135 kg)
+41,502 lb (+18,825 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Saab GlobalEye production variant)
2 x Rolls-Royce BR710 A2-20 turbofan engines developing 14,750lb of thrust each.
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