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buglerbilly
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[*] posted on 31-5-2017 at 02:15 PM
AEW, aircraft and systems


Pakistan to obtain three more Saab 2000 AEW&C aircraft

31 May, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Greg Waldron Singapore

Pakistan will obtain three new Saab 2000 airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft.

A source with knowledge of the acquisition says the aircraft will be equipped with the Swedish firm's Erieye radar system, which can track both air and surface targets.

On 15 May, Saab released a statement that it had signed a contract with an undisclosed customer in the airborne early warning & control segment valued at SEK1.35 billion ($155 million). It said that deliveries would run from 2017 to 2020, with the order to be booked within the next six months.

"The effectiveness of the contract is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions, among others, financial conditions," said Saab. "All conditions are expected to be fulfilled within the coming 6 months. The industry’s nature is such that due to circumstances concerning the product and customer, further information about the customer will not be announced."

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Pakistan operates eight AEW&C assets. It has four Saab 2000 AEW&C platforms, and four Chinese-produced Shaanxi Y-8's configured for the AEW&C mission.
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[*] posted on 1-8-2017 at 09:49 AM


Avionics upgrade to boost French AWACS fleet

31 July, 2017 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

An avionics upgrade will enable France's Boeing E-3F airborne warning and control system (AWACS) fleet to remain operationally relevant until at least 2035, the nation's DGA defence procurement agency says.

In operational use since 1992, the French air force's four E-3Fs are to have their analogue cockpits replaced with a digital flight deck featuring five full-colour multifunction displays, DGA says.

The modernisation activity also will introduce a digital autopilot capability for the CFM International CFM56-powered type.


Boeing

The upgrade programme will enable the aircraft to remain compliant with current and emerging air traffic control and navigation requirements, and enable the French air force to reduce its in-cockpit flightcrew from four to three.

Supported by Boeing and using a common system developed for major AWACS upgrades for the US Air Force and NATO, the modifications will be performed by Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M). Work will commence during 2019, with updated aircraft to be returned to operational use from 2022. DGA says the updates will be performed alongside scheduled heavy maintenance visits, to minimise the amount of time that individual airframes will be out of use.

It says the updates will enhance the E-3F's operational performance, but also improve reliability and reduce support costs, due to the removal of obsolete equipment. Its contract with AFI KLM E&M will also include a seven-year maintenance deal.

Boeing and its French maintenance partner have previously worked together on a mid-life update of the E-3F's onboard mission computers and operator stations, delivering modernised aircraft from July 2014.
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[*] posted on 17-11-2017 at 03:32 PM


First E-2D for Japan makes maiden flight

Gareth Jennings - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

16 November 2017


Japan’s First E-2D Hawkeye prepares to take flight at the Northrop Grumman Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St Augustine, Florida, on 13 November. Source: Northrop Grumman

The first Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Japan made its maiden flight on 13 November.

The milestone, which was announced by the aircraft manufacturer two days later, took place at Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) selected the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in 2014 to help fulfill the nation’s AEW&C requirements, serving alongside the earlier model E-2C as well as the Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control systems (AWACS). Northrop Grumman began production in 2016 on the two aircraft so far contracted, with deliveries set to be complete by the end of 2018.

One operational with the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF), the E-2D will augment the 13 E-2C aircraft and four E-767s already in service.

As the latest variant of the Hawkeye carrier-based E-2 AEW&C aircraft that has been in US naval service since the mid-1960s, the E-2D features the more powerful AN/APY-9 radar that is designed to provide 360° coverage against hostile aircraft and cruise missiles, as well as the in-flight refuelling capability.

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[*] posted on 18-11-2017 at 12:46 PM


I've noticed the Brits keep inspecting the E-7s every time a minister comes out this way. It can't be a coincidence. I think it is odds-on now that they will take their £2 billion out of an upgrade to the E-3 and go for the E-7.

Or so my gut tells me. Just a placeholder so I can say I told you so later...:dork:
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[*] posted on 18-11-2017 at 03:49 PM


The Japanese AEW setup has been striking me as an odd choice and combination for a while now...



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[*] posted on 21-11-2017 at 12:05 AM


Russia’s A-100 AWACS makes maiden flight

Gareth Jennings - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

20 November 2017


The first A-100 prototype departs on its maiden flight that was announced on 20 November. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)

Russia has flown its first prototype A-100 Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft based on the upgraded Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) airframe, it was announced on 20 November.

The A-100 Premier, as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation named it, made its maiden flight out of the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK), located near the Sea of Azov in the far west of the country. According to the MoD, all of the aircraft’s systems, including those associated with the rotating dorsal rotodome, were checked-out during the flight ahead of further trials.

This first flight milestone came three years after Russia’s TASS news agency announced that the first Il-76MD-90A airframe had arrived at the TANTK facility for conversion into the A-100 AWACS configuration in 2014, and six years after plans to do so were first disclosed in 2011.

While few details pertaining to the A-100 have been released, it has been revealed that it will be built around an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, as opposed to the mechanically scanned radar of the current A-50 (NATO reporting name ‘Mainstay’) that it is intended to eventually replace. Jane’s has previously reported that this new AESA will probably be the JSC REC ‘Vega’ Premier radar that is scanned mechanically in azimuth and electronically in elevation. State media said that this radar can detect airborne targets out to 600 km, and ships out to 400 km.

While the AESA radar will provide a dramatic improvement in the platform's ability to detect and track both airborne and land-based targets, as well as making for a more reliable and easier to maintain solution, the move to the Il-76MD-90A airframe will bestow advantages from the new avionics (reduced crew workload), and improved fuel efficiency (cheaper to operate, and with increased time on station).

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[*] posted on 23-1-2018 at 07:15 PM


Italian Air Force Receives Second G550 CAEW


The Italian Air Force has received its second G550-based airborne early warning and control platform from Israel. (Photo: IAI)

Details Published: 23 January 2018

Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have delivered a Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) G550 aircraft to the Italian Air Force – the second aircraft contracted under the reciprocal arrangement between the two governments in 2012.

CAEW is an early warning and control system developed by IAI subsidiary ELTA System and mounted on the Gulfstream G550 business jet. The Israeli Air Force has been using the platform for 12 years.. The version supplied to Italy features advanced radar with enhanced performance and a NATO-compatible communication system developed jointly by ELTA and has performed to the customer’s satisfaction since, according to IAI.

The G550 CAEW is based on radar installed on the sides of the aircraft. It provides aerial and maritime situational awareness with 360° surveillance of airborne targets in all altitudes, over any terrain and in any weather conditions, including maritime surveillance and can operate at long ranges with for extended periods.

The systems, provided by ELTA, include:

• Advanced AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) four-dimensional radar with 360° detection, identification and tracking of airborne and surface targets;
• Electronic Surveillance Measures system (ESM) covering 360°, detecting emitters at a wide range of frequencies, accurately measuring the emitter, its electronic parameters and its platform;
• NATO-compatible communications system, produced jointly by ELTA and Leonardo;
• Self-Protection System (SPS) with 360° coverage including active and passive sensors, detecting threats approaching the platform, and countermeasures against incoming missiles;
• Mission Computer System (MCS) creating and displaying aerial and maritime situational pictures by integrating data from the various sensors and tactical datalinks.

"CAEW is the culmination of the fruitful collaboration between the ministries of defense of Italy and Israel and is based on mutual understanding of the needs and challenges of each party. Our agreement with the Italian government, of which CAEW is only one result, covers over NIS 4 billion in reciprocal procurement with Israel's defense industries in addition to Israel's procurement of 30 trainer aircraft from Italy for its air force. This large-scale collaboration is very significant for the Israeli industry: it leverages advanced technologies used by Israel Defense Forces, including the delivery of two CAEW aircraft and a photography satellite with the world's most advanced capabilities," commented Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Daniel Gold, Head of Israel's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D).

TM
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[*] posted on 23-2-2018 at 07:42 PM


PICTURE: Saab unveils first GlobalEye for UAE

23 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle

Saab has unveiled its first GlobalEye surveillance aircraft, revealing the extensively modified Bombardier Global 6000 business jet in the livery of launch customer the United Arab Emirates air force.

Conducted at the Swedish company's Linköping site on 23 February, the event came a little over two years after the GlobalEye deal was announced at the Dubai air show in November 2015. The UAE initially signed a two-aircraft order, before also taking an option on a third example last year.


Saab

Adaptations include adding a Saab Erieye ER airborne early warning and control radar in a "skibox" fairing above the fuselage, plus a search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor beneath, enabling the GlobalEye to also perform maritime and overland surveillance tasks.

This combination of sensors aboard an ultra-long-range business jet platform "brings extended detection range, endurance and the ability to perform multiple roles with one solution, including search and rescue, border surveillance and military operations," Saab says.

"This first aircraft is equipped and being prepared for ground and flight trials to gather aerodynamic data as part of the ongoing development and production programme," the company adds. It has not disclosed a delivery schedule for the UAE's new capability.

“This milestone is clear evidence that the GlobalEye programme and Saab are delivering on our commitments,” says Anders Carp, senior vice-president and head of the company's surveillance business area.
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[*] posted on 26-2-2018 at 09:05 PM


Saab touts GlobalEye as future E-3A replacement for NATO

Gareth Jennings, Linkoping, Sweden - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

26 February 2018


The first Saab GlobalEye was rolled out at the Linkoping production facility on 23 February. With the UAE signed up as the launch customer, Saab is touting the platform to other potential operators, including NATO. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Saab is pitching its GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform as a possible future successor to the Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) currently fielded by NATO.

Speaking at the public unveiling of the first GlobalEye in Linkoping on 23 February, the Head of Airborne Surveillance Systems and Vice-President at Saab, Lars Tossman, said discussions with NATO are in their early stages as the alliance looks for options to replace its E-3A fleet in the 2035 timeframe.

“The NATO fleet needs to be renewed in about 2035, so what will they choose?” Tossman asked, adding, “We want to tell NATO about our solution – we have already sold our [earlier generation] Erieye system to Greece, and that has been successfully integrated into the NATO [air defence] system, so we could definitely do that with the GlobalEye too”.

The E-3A has been in NATO service since 1982, and with 15 aircraft currently in its fleet (that number is set to be reduced to 14 in the coming months), the alliance launched a study in February 2017 to look at its future AEW&C requirements and options after it retires the type in about 20 years' time.

Saab’s conversations with NATO form part of an initial concept-study stage, and while Tossman said it was too early to quantify the level of interest in the GlobalEye he did note that alliance officials were “really impressed” with the aircraft’s Erieye Extended Range (ER) radar. Housed in the same dorsal plank fairing as the previous generation Erieye, the Erieye ER is an S-Band system (2 to 4 GHz) that achieves a doubling of the previous radar’s power efficiency through the use of Gallium Nitride (GaN) and other technologies.

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[*] posted on 28-2-2018 at 08:09 PM


French Navy to Procure E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes for 2026-2028

Posted On Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:54

The French Navy is looking to procure some E-2D Advanced Hawkeye carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft from Northrop Grumman for delivery in about ten years, Navy Recognition has learned.


The French Navy currently operates three E-2C Haweyes from its sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. Navy Recognition picture.

A French Navy spokesman explained to us that "three E-2Ds are scheduled to be delivered by 2026-2028. They will renew the 'gateway' function of the French naval aviation". Navy Recognition understands a formal order for the Advanced Hawkeyes should be placed in the next French military planning law (LPM) set to be released in 2024. France just issued its 2019-2025 military planning law.

The French Navy Naval Aviation (Force maritime de l'aéronautique navale) Flottille 4F currently operates three E-2C Hawkeyes acquired from the United States acquired in 1998, 1999 and 2004. It is the only Hawkeye operator with the United Sates to deploy the AEW aircraft from aircraft carriers.

In the meantime, the three French E-2C will be mordernized and upgraded: "From 2017 until 2019, the naval aviation E-2Cs are in a retrofit phase. Its scope is the modernization of weapons system, electronic warfare and IFF, as well as tactical consoles (2 sensors out of 3 are replaced), and obsolescence processing to meet the requirements of interoperability. Modernization work is carried out by the manufacturer Northrop Grumman, in France at AIA Cuers" a naval aviation Public Affairs Officer told Navy Recognition. The AIA (Atelier Industriel de l'Aéronautique) is a French MoD facility specialized in aircraft maintenance.

Navy Recognition first learned about the French interest in E-2D Advanced Hawkeye during the SNA 2018 tradeshow held in Washington D.C. in January. Northrop Grumman didn't want to comment on this topic.

If procured, the E-2Ds will replace the E-2Cs. The French interest in the E-2D seem to be in line with the possible procurement of a new aircraft carrier for the French Navy. As we reported recently, France is set to launch studies on the replacement of its sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, which should be decommissioned around 2040. Procuring E-2Ds for a mere 10 years would not make sense for the French Navy if there is no carrier replacement.


Two E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes flying in formation. Northrop Grumman picture.

About the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform. It features a new radar and upgraded aircraft systems. The U.S. Navy is set to receive 75 Advanced Hawkeyes by 2027. The IOC was declared in October 2014. The first aircraft carrier deployment took place aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in March 2015. The E-2D conducted its first flight on August 3, 2007.

The Japan Ministry of Defense became the first export customer of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in 2014 to fulfill the nation's airborne early warning requirements. Northrop Grumman began production in 2016 on two aircraft. First flight of a JASDF E-2D took place in November last year.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye provides 360-degree automatic, simultaneous air and sea surface radar detection with multimode long-range identification friend or foe (IFF) detection, automatic radar correlation, and long-range passive detection and classification of electronic emitters. It distributes the tactical picture to command centers and other assets through its onboard communication subsystems.

The E-2D may look like a C model but actually features many differences: All the electronics, from the radar to the aircraft systems and avionics have been upgraded. The cockpit features 3 large (17 inch) display that the pilot and co-pilot can use not only to fly the aircraft but also to receive the same information as in the combat information center (CIC) in the back. The CIC features three workstations (with 20 inch display, featuring open architecture and computing environment) for one ACO (Air Control Officer), a CICO (Combat Information Center Officer) and a RO (Radar Officer). Compared to legacy "C" model Hawkeyes, the "D" model features a new environmental control system (with better cooling capacity), a new digital ESM, a new electrical system (with vast margin for future growth), new mission data processing (based on COTS components, high-speed processors and a fiber-optic LAN), upgraded communications...


The first E-2D equipped with aerial refueling successfully received its first in-flight fuel transfer from a tanker aircraft on July 14, 2017. NAVAIR picture.

Maximized endurance thanks to future in-flight refueling capability

In January this year, the U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a contract for engineering, manufacturing and demonstration of an in-flight refueling (IFR) system for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The greater endurance provided by in-flight refueling will provide the U.S. Navy with increased surveillance and targeting capability and the persistence needed to accomplish this more effectively. It will also allow the aircraft to loiter for longer period of time, further out. A mature aerial refueling test program with production cut-in is planned for 2018 and initial operating capability is planned for 2020.

To increase crew effectiveness during the longer missions (up to 8 hours thanks to IFR), Northrop Grumman offers "optional air vehicle enhancements" consisting in:

» Food and beverage galley
» Crew lavatory
» Ergonomic seats
» Noise canceling aviation headsets
» Air conditioning
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[*] posted on 1-3-2018 at 09:59 AM


Saab has sky-high sales hopes for GlobalEye

28 February, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle

Saab is poised to start ground-test activities with its first GlobalEye surveillance aircraft, having unveiled the heavily-adapted Bombardier Global 6000 for launch customer the United Arab Emirates.

Rolled out at the Swedish company's Linköping site on 23 February, the modified business jet is the first of three such "swing-role" platforms ordered by the Gulf nation since November 2015.

Revealed in UAE markings, the lead GlobalEye has its approximately 1t Saab Erieye ER airborne early warning (AEW) radar mounted atop the twinjet's fuselage. Additional sensors include a Leonardo Seaspray 7500E maritime surveillance radar – which also has synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication modes – and an electro-optical/infrared sensor, to be fitted underneath the forward fuselage.


Saab

"This aircraft is ready to commence testing – as soon as we are done here," Lars Tossman, head of airborne surveillance systems for Saab's surveillance business unit, said during the roll-out event.

Ground-based testing with the active electronically scanned array Erieye ER is already at an advanced stage in Gothenburg.

While the sensor is contained within the same "skibox" fairing as previous versions of the radar, Saab says the use of new technology – including gallium nitride transmit/receive modules – provides a 70% increase in detection range. The company has previously cited a horizon-limited capability of 216nm (400km) for the new product, while operating at an altitude of 30,000ft.

Pointing to Saab's previous experience with installing the Erieye sensor on a trio of aircraft types, Mats Wicksell, head of systems integration, comments: "I expect to have a good performance from this system quite early in the programme."

Mission system testing is also being conducted in Gothenburg, as part of an integrated campaign with work spread across multiple Saab sites. "Today, all the equipment is integrated, to make a complete system," Wicksell adds.

Saab officials decline to reveal when the GlobalEye is expected to make its flight debut, or to detail the expected duration of its test campaign or delivery schedule. However, Wicksell says flight tests will be used "largely to validate the results in the final environment."

The UAE signed for two GlobalEye systems at the Dubai air show in November 2015, and exercised an option last year to add a third example. An image shown during the event showed that all three aircraft have entered the conversion process in Linköping, with Saab having secured a supplemental type certificate to modify the Canadian-built business jet.



After arriving at the site, each "green" Global 6000 undergoes extensive work, including airframe and wing strengthening to enable it to carry the Erieye array and other sensors, including wingtip-mounted electronic warfare equipment. An extended tailfin is also fitted, along with "finlets" and ventral strakes beneath the rear fuselage. Additional power and cooling equipment is also added, along with a self-protection suite comprised of laser and radar warning receivers, and countermeasures dispensers.

Other mission equipment includes data links, voice and satellite communications and a command and control suite with five onboard operator stations.

"The aircraft is a wonderful fit for what we are trying to achieve," says Wicksell.

Speaking in a video shown during the roll-out, UAE air force chief Ibrahim Naser Al Alawi described his service's coming capability as a "strong force multiplier".

"Our requirements for the future will consist of having an early warning radar which is capable also of detecting ballistic missiles, and to cover the whole domain as an air power," he says.


Craig Hoyle/FlightGlobal

Describing the GlobalEye's ability to perform simultaneous airborne, maritime and ground surveillance tasks as "absolutely unique", Tossman says the product is attracting strong interest from other potential buyers.

"A lot of nations are interested in this kind of capability," he says. "We have a lot of potential customers we are talking to."

This includes existing Erieye operators, he says, along with "some countries without any [AEW] capability, or which have a rival system and are looking to increase their fleet".

Tossman refers to interest as coming from several nations in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and notes: "The NATO [Boeing E-3] fleet is going to be renewed around 2035".

"Today we have a customer base of eight countries – the biggest in the world," he says of Saab's sales success with the Erieye system. Flight Fleets Analyzer records Brazil, Greece, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Thailand and the UAE as currently flying a mix of adapted Embraer EMB-145s, Saab 340s and Saab 2000s.

The UAE's two Saab 340 AEW aircraft are operated with a radar technician but without onboard operators, and have their surveillance output downlinked to the ground. The company says the GlobalEye could potentially be used in such a way by some users.

But where onboard system operators are preferred, Torstein Bergli, Saab's product manager for airborne surveillance, says that the Global 6000 has a "very low noise level" and a 3,500ft cabin altitude pressure, both of which will reduce crew fatigue during missions of up to 11h.

While it scans for additional customers, Saab says it will be able to prepare up to three GlobalEye systems per year, and could commence deliveries within three years of receiving a contract. "We have had discussions with Bombardier on slots, and on how to shorten the lead-time when we are in need of more platforms," Wicksell says.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2018 at 06:14 PM


Japan Upgrades Its E-767 AWACS Fleet

(Source: Forecast International; posted March 2, 2018)

by Matthew Beres

Boeing was recently awarded a $60.9 million hybrid (fixed-price-incentive-firm, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-plus-incentive-fee) contract to perform the mission computing upgrade installation and checkout on four Japanese E-767 aircraft and associated ground systems. Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022.

Computer upgrades are a common occurrence in the military airborne retrofit and modernization market. These upgrades usually involve the installation of faster and more powerful computers that are able to process the capabilities of any new avionics or electronics equipment.

Radar, sensors, and electronic warfare and/or weapons systems usually require the most significant parallel computer upgrades. The E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft is very similar to an E-3 Sentry, and thus is likely to need periodic computer upgrades.

Japan has been ramping up its spending on airborne retrofit and modernization as part of an increase in overall military spending. Efforts include a comprehensive upgrade of the nation’s four E-767 AWACS by 2020 under a $402.8 million contract.

Other upgrades underway for Japan’s AWACS aircraft include the installation of four electronic support measures systems, eight UPX-40 next-generation identification friend or foe systems, eight APX-119 IFF transponders, and four KIV-77 cryptographic computers.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 15-3-2018 at 09:05 AM


GlobalEye makes maiden flight

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

14 March 2018


The first GlobalEye departs Linkoping on its maiden flight, just 19 days after being rolled out to the press on 23 February. Source: Saab

Saab’s GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft made its maiden flight from the company’s Linkoping production plant on 14 March.

The Bombardier Global 6000 business jet-based platform marked this important milestone just 19 days after this first aircraft for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launch customer was rolled out to the press at the same facility on 23 February.

No further details of the flight had been disclosed at the time of writing, but the aircraft will likely now enter into an intensive flight trials campaign ahead of delivery to the UAE Air Force and Defence (UAE AF&D). Besides this initial airframe, the UAE is to receive a further two aircraft by the end of 2021 (neither Saab nor the UAE have said when deliveries will commence).

The GlobalEye is built around the Saab Erieye Extended Range (ER) radar that is housed in the same external dorsal ‘plank’ as the company’s original Erieye system. Equipped as it is with Gallium Nitride (GaN) and other technologies, the Erieye ER is an active electronically scanned array (ASEA) system that doubles the radar’s power efficiency compared with previous Erieye iterations. It has a range in excess of 650 km which can be dramatically extended by focusing the radar’s energy.

Saab said the Erieye ER is resistant to jamming, and features all-weather functionality in all domains (air, sea, and land surveillance), and an “extremely high” tracking update rate against targets of interest.

Besides the radar, the aircraft is also equipped with the state-of-the-art Leonardo Seaspray 7500E AESA 360° multimode radar, as well as a retractable Star SAFIRE 380-HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, Automatic Identification System (AIS) for shipping, HES-21 electronic support measures (ESM) suite, and countermeasures. Performance figures disclosed by Saab give the GlobalEye an endurance of more than 13 hours and a top speed of 450 kt.

(330 words)
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[*] posted on 15-3-2018 at 09:38 AM


PICTURES: Saab's GlobalEye makes flight debut

14 March, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Craig Hoyle London

Saab's GlobalEye swing-role surveillance aircraft completed a 1h 46min debut flight from Linköping in Sweden on 14 March, less than three weeks after its formal unveiling.


Saab

Carrying the temporary registration SE-RMY, the heavily modified Bombardier Global 6000 demonstrated "smooth handling, just as predicted," according to Saab experimental test pilot Magnus Fredriksson. The debut included "collecting extensive flight-test data using the on-board instrumentation suite," the company adds.


Saab

Noting that the first flight was conducted swiftly following the GlobalEye's roll-out for launch customer the United Arab Emirates on 23 February, Anders Carp, head of Saab's surveillance business unit, says: "We are on track with our production."

The UAE will take delivery of three GlobalEye aircraft, having signed a combined development and production deal in November 2015. Saab late last month declined to disclose the expected duration of its flight-test campaign with the modified business jet, or to reveal its delivery schedule for the type. Both remaining aircraft are already in the modification process in Linköping, however.


Saab

Adaptations to the baseline Global 6000 have been made to enable it to operate with a Saab Erieye ER airborne early warning radar mounted above its fuselage, plus a Leonardo Seaspray 7500E maritime surveillance radar and an electro-optical/infrared sensor beneath. The combination will enable the aircraft to provide simultaneous coverage of airborne, maritime and land targets.
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[*] posted on 4-4-2018 at 09:24 PM


Boeing awarded further Japanese E-767 AWACS upgrade contract

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

04 April 2018


All four E-767 AWACS aircraft operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force are to be upgraded to make them more compatible with the 707-based AWACS platform fielded by the US Air Force and others. Source: JASDF

Boeing has been awarded a further USD64.8 million contract to upgrade the mission computing system aboard Japan’s fleet of E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said on 29 March.

The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) award brings the total cumulative face value of the E-767 mission computing upgrade contract to USD125.7 million. This system upgrade contract is the fourth award under the E-767 modernisation process for Japan. Work on the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) four E-767s will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be complete by 31 December 2022.

The previous three awards to modernise the aircraft that have been in JASDF service since 1998/99 comprised the initial Mission Computing Upgrade contract that was completed on 31 December 2014, the Design and Production contract announced by the DoD on 28 October 2014, and the Mission Computing Upgrade Program (MCUP) awarded in February 2015 and running through to 2020.

Work being carried out includes equipping the aircraft with updated mission computers, electronic support measures, a traffic alert and collision avoidance system, AN/APX-119 interrogator friend or foe (IFF) transponder, next-generation UPX-40 IFF, automatic identification system, and datalink upgrades.

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[*] posted on 13-4-2018 at 02:23 PM


Northrop to begin cutting in aerial refueling capability in E-2D Advanced Hawkeye production this year

By: Valerie Insinna   1 day ago


The first U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye equipped with aerial refueling. (John Germana, Northrop Grumman)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — This year, Northrop Grumman will begin manufacturing the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft built from the ground up with an aerial refueling capability, program officials said Tuesday.

Northrop will start cutting in modifications to the production line starting with the 46th of 75 planned aircraft slated to be procured by the Navy, said Jane Bishop, the company’s vice president for airborne early warning battle management command and control.

“We’re about to lay the keel for that aircraft,” Bishop told reporters during a briefing at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference. “We’ll be delivering that aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

The Navy has had a longstanding requirement to make the E-2D capable of being refueled by Air Force and Navy tankers, but at the time the aircraft began production the service could not afford it, said Capt. Keith Hash, the Navy’s E-2/C-2 program manager.

“Sometimes there’s a desire to put everything in at once, and that would be wise, but unfortunately we live in a budget constrained environment and affordability has to come into play,” he said. “So this was deferred for a few years, and as we continue to build the requirements the budget will be made available to make this happen.”

The new capability could be transformational, allowing the E-2D to spend five hours on station — twice its current threshold — and increasing the aircraft’s total mission time from four to seven hours.

That pretty much doubles the time the Hawkeye can stay in the air conducting surveillance and doing the battle management command and control mission.

The upgrade will also come at a slightly higher cost. Northrop is designing and testing the modifications under a contract valued at about $250 million, Hash said. Each production aircraft should cost about $2 million more than the planes currently rolling off Northrop’s production line in St. Augustine, Fla.

Northrop and the Navy are currently negotiating a contract for retrofitting the first 45 E-2Ds, but Hash estimates that the effort should cost about $6 million per plane.

The company has already delivered three developmental test planes in 2017 with the retrofits, and two more aircraft will begin the modification process this year, Bishop said. The most important of those upgrades involves installing a refueling probe in the wing center section where the fuel tank is located, as well as some changes to flight controls.

The refuelable version of the Advanced Hawkeye flew for the first time in December 2016. Since then, it has received gas from a KC-130, KC-135, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and — most recently, this January — a KC-10.

It’s likely that the E-2D will also be qualified to be able to be refueled by the Air Force’s future tanker, the KC-46, and the Navy’s future tanker drone, the MQ-25, Hash said.
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[*] posted on 19-6-2018 at 05:55 PM


Saab Receives Order for Additional Functionality for GlobalEye

(Source: Saab; issued June 18, 2018)


Saab said it has received an order from the United Arab Emirates for additional functionality for its Global Eye advanced airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft, but will not say what it is. (Saab photo)

Saab has received an order from the United Arab Emirates for additional functionality for the advanced airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) solution GlobalEye. The order value is approximately SEK 345 million.

The UAE placed its first order for GlobalEye in November 2015. GlobalEye combines air, maritime and ground surveillance in one swing-role solution. It features a full suite of sophisticated sensors including the powerful new extended range radar (Erieye ER).

“GlobalEye is the most advanced airborne early warning & control solution on the market and the programme is progressing very well, with the first flight completed in March this year. This order is further testament to our successful collaboration with the UAE”, says Anders Carp, head of Saab business area Surveillance.

GlobalEye brings extended detection range, endurance and the ability to perform multiple roles, including tasks such as search and rescue, border surveillance and military operations.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 17-7-2018 at 02:57 PM


CAEW – Business Jets Taking Control

Smaller Planes for Bigger Missions

By Tamir Eshel - Jul 15, 2018



IAI’s combat-proven Conformal Airborne Early Warning and Control (CAEW) aircraft have a proven record performing missions better than the bigger legacy AWACS, for longer durations, at a much lower cost.

Since the invention of radars Air Forces have relied on strategic networks of radars, communications and command centers to plan, manage and coordinate air activity over theaters of operations in a friendly and contested airspace.

The introduction of Airborne Early Warning (AEW) mechanical rotated radars in the 1960s made a dramatic change, extending AEW and control (AEW&C) over large airspace, covering terrain and ocean areas that were too extensive and complex for terrestrial based radar coverage. While technology has evolved since the days of those first “AWACS” (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes, the legacy platforms currently used for AEW&C systems are aging, inefficient and becoming too costly to operate.

“Radar technologies and electronics have made quantum leaps since those days in terms of weight, size, power, and performance,” Avishai Izhakian, Deputy General Manager, Airborne Systems, and Radars Division at ELTA Systems told Defense-Update. According to Izhakian, today’s radars are smaller, more efficient, more reliable and agile enabling missions to be carried out more effectively over a longer range, more effectively and efficiently.

“Modern Active Electronic Beam Steering Arrays (AESA) render the distinctive rotodome redundant, introducing lighter more efficient, conformal configurations for radars, enabling the use of business jets for the AEW role,” Izhakian added. The fact that these modern radars are not reliant on the complexes of moving parts further reduce weight and improves performance. “By steering the radar beams electronically, rather than mechanically significantly faster update rates can be achieved, enabling the detection and tracking of modern threats such as fast cruise missiles and unmanned platforms,” Izhakian explained.

Planes such as the Gulfstream G550 are now rated as the platform of choice for special mission aircraft. Specially modified and equipped G550 platforms now include AEW&C, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Signal Intelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Warfare (EW) and more.

Such platforms offer many advantages over larger, legacy commercial airframes, such as the Boeing 707, 737, 767 and Airbus 320/330 class aircraft. A very successful example is G550 CAEW aircraft developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary Elta Systems, using the company’s ELW-2085 AEW system. In this configuration, the G550 was modified extensively, adding ‘cheeks’ on the fuselage sides, a bulkier nose, and a tail radome, to accommodate four AESA radars. The latest generation of CAEW employs a new radar based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology that delivers higher power at higher efficiency, that contributes to improved detection and tracking performance.

By collecting information across different spectral bands and domains, the CAEW provides a full 360o air situation picture, integrated with IFF ESM and Data Link data, covering all heights and terrains.

Cleared for operations at a ceiling of 41,000 ft., rapid climb rate and high subsonic speed, the G550 CAEW is optimally positioned above civilian air traffic, can quickly reach the area of interest, and extend surveillance over the horizon up to 450 kilometers. Large fuel capacity and engine economy support missions up to 10 hours, without aerial refueling, operating all mission systems and with a full crew on board.

Each CAEW uses multiple terminals that extend voice and data communications and wideband datalinks over Line of Sight (LOS) and satellite communications (SATCOM), allowing for additional operators on the ground to augment the airborne crew in real time.

Onboard systems include radar, SIGINT, and communications suits developed in-house by the company, utilizing standard COTS computers and software. ELTA’s software-based systems allow maximum flexibility in operation and ease of adaptation to specific needs.

Based on an airframe designed for passenger comfort, operational efficiency, and reliability, the G550 CAEW offers a spacious cabin accommodating six multi-mission operating workstations, along with the power and cooling resources necessary to support all systems. An added benefit is the low cabin pressurization that is set to 5,000 ft., thus reducing operator fatigue on long missions.

As a business jet platform, CAEW can land at any airport, even on short strips, and, return on station after a short ground cycle much faster than would take to perform in-flight refueling. The quick turnaround between missions, proven operational mission readiness of more than 90 percent, and low operating costs enables users to maintain 24/7 operations with smaller fleets. Analysis has shown that a small fleet of CAEW aircraft comfortably fulfills the missions carried out by much larger legacy fleets of E-3 Sentry or equivalent aircraft.

As a pioneer in this field, IAI/ELTA, has fielded such airborne systems with air forces in five continents. The CAEW has been in service since 2008 and is currently operational as a uniquely strategic asset with three air forces. The first entered service with the Israel Air Force in 2008 and the most recent NATO compliant version was delivered to the Italian Air Force since 2017.

Interoperability is a major requirement for such strategic systems and involved close cooperation with the Leonardo Group as a subcontractor for NATO compliant communications and navigation equipment. With that delivery, the CAEW is now fully integrated and compatible with NATO standards and is ready to support other users in the European continent and abroad.

The proven maturity, high performance, and operational efficiency position CAEW as a leading contender for the UK AWACS Recap program and other European Airborne Early Warning modernizations.
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[*] posted on 18-7-2018 at 08:53 AM


FARNBOROUGH: Saab GlobalEye flight campaign well under way

17 July, 2018 SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com BY: Greg Waldron Farnborough

Saab's GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft is proceeding with flight tests.

At a presentation in the company's chalet, vice-president of airborne surveillance systems Lars Tossman declined to specify exactly how many times the aircraft has flown since its maiden flight in March, but that it is in the air "more or less every day".

The aerial work so far has focused on expanding the aircraft's flight envelope, and Tossman says there have been no surprises.

The Swedish company is building three examples to fulfil an order placed by the United Arab Emirates at the 2017 Dubai air show.

Tossman declined to say when the first UAE aircraft would be delivered, but says that generally it takes 36 months from contract signing to delivery of an AEW&C platform. The UAE is kept informed about the aircraft's development, and signs off on milestones as they occur, says Tossman.

"They gradually accept it bit by bit," he says. "They follow every step of the process."


BillyPix

On the broader market, he says there is firm demand for surveillance capabilities around the world. While platforms such as GlobalEye are developed to operate in warfare conditions, they have immense utility in peacetime. The aircraft's ability to monitor contacts in the air, sea, and on land can be used for a range of missions.

Tossman says that GlobalEye would be able, for instance, to monitor a low, slow-moving propeller aircraft, and observe it drop a cargo of narcotics into the sea. The boat that collects the narcotics can be tracked, as can the car or jeep that collects the narcotics from the beach.

As for the technical aspects of the integration, Tossman believes that the Bombardier 6000, on which the GlobalEye is based, produces ample power for the early warning and control radar in a "skibox" fairing above the fuselage, the search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor beneath the fuselage, the electronic warfare system, and the crew stations. Endurance for the aircraft is 11h.

The early warning radar relies on gallium nitrate technology, and this helps with the efficient use of power, he adds. Still, the sensitivity of the radar creates problems.

"Better radar increases complexity," he says. "We can see birds, but we don't want to see birds, so we have to create a software solution for this."

Several reporters asked Tossman whether Saab would participate should the UK government decide to open a competition for AEW&C aircraft, and not move forward with a controversial plan to replace the Boeing E-3D Sentry with the 737-based Wedgetail.

"We offer the most modern airborne early warning system today. We would certainly welcome an open, transparent competition - but it's up to the government what they want to do."
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[*] posted on 18-7-2018 at 06:23 PM


Farnborough 2018: Initial UAE GlobalEye delivery likely by end of year

Peter Felstead, Farnborough - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

17 July 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), launch customer for the Saab GlobalEye multi-mission airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform, is likely to receive its first aircraft by the end of this year, company sources have indicated.

At the Dubai Airshow in November 2015 the UAE initially ordered two examples of an enhanced version of the GlobalEye known as the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS), with a third aircraft subsequently ordered around February 2017.

Asked by Jane’s about the UAE delivery schedule at Farnborough on 17 July, Lars Tossman, Head of Airborne Surveillance Systems at Saab, declined to give a specific timeline but noted that “a typical AEW platform delivery from contract signed is 36 months”.

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[*] posted on 19-9-2018 at 09:34 AM


IAI eyes UK AEW&C opportunity

Yaakov Lappin, Tel Aviv - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

18 September 2018

Wishful thinking by IAI. I don't, for a moment, believe that there will be an open competition for this requirement...........

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has expressed hope that the United Kingdom will launch an open tender for a new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF), Jane's was told on 18 September.


IAI sees its G550 CAEW aircraft as a cheaper yet capable replacement for the United Kingdom's current E-3D Sentry AEW1. (IAI)

IAI's subsidiary, Elta Systems, has been holding a preliminary dialogue with a number of UK defence companies that could act as local partners in any potential future contract, a senior Elta executive said.

Elta Systems supplied two Gulfstream 550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning (G550 CAEW) aircraft to Italy in 2016, which the company believes puts it in a strong position for any potential UK tender.

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[*] posted on 19-10-2018 at 08:35 PM


Qatar opts not to complete E-737 AEW&C deal

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

18 October 2018


Seen here in South Korean service, the Boeing E-737 AEW&C aircraft was expected to enter into Qatari service with the announcement of a sale in 2014. However, Boeing has told that this transaction was never completed. Source: Boeing

Qatar has decided not to proceed with the procurement of three Boeing E-737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft that was first announced in 2014, Jane's was told on 18 October.

The US manufacturer said that the Gulf state has chosen not to complete the transaction, which at the time it was announced during the DIMDEX 2014 exhibition in Doha was valued at QAR6.6 billion (USD1.8 billion in 2014 dollars).

Boeing did not say why Qatar has not fulfilled its procurement, though it appears that the company had expected to complete the transaction as recently as March, with a video playing on its stand at DIMDEX 2018 featuring the E-737 in Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) markings. The Qatari Ministry of Defence did not respond to a request for comment.

The QEAF currently has no airborne early warning capability and the procurement of the E-737 would have represented a significant boost in its capabilities. Having decided not to proceed with the E-737, it is unclear if Qatar is considering an alternative or if it has decided not to field an airborne early warning capability altogether.

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[*] posted on 20-11-2018 at 09:20 AM


Northrop Grumman contracted to begin work on second batch of E-2Ds for Japan

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

19 November 2018


With four E-2Ds already under contract and in production, work on a second batch of nine aircraft for Japan has begun with a long-lead contract awarded on 16 November. Source: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman has been contracted to begin work on the nine additional E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Japan announced earlier this year.

With four aircraft under contract and in various stages of production, the company received a USD32.73 million award on 16 November from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for long-lead acquisitions related to the production of the fifth aircraft (JAA5) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The initial batch is due to be delivered to the JASDF between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, while the fifth aircraft will follow before the end of 2022.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense initially selected the E-2D in 2014 to serve alongside the earlier E-2C, as well as the Boeing E-767 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.

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[*] posted on 20-11-2018 at 02:13 PM


The Pioneering Bizjet Airborne Early Warning Creating A Difference IAI/ELTA's G550 Conformal Airborne Early Warning

Nov 15, 2018 Sponsored by IAI/ELTA

The G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning) aircraft pioneered the current worldwide trend of using high-performance fuel-efficient business jets for Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and other special missions.

ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries), unveiled the G550 CAEW to an enthusiastic public at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008. At that time, the G550 CAEW had already been delivered to the Israeli Air Force and another leading Air Force. The latest delivery was to the Italian Air Force, which included a fully NATO interoperable communications suite, IFF system and a newly designed AESA Radar based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) technologies.

The G550 CAEW offers outstanding performance accompanied with an exceptionally high level of readiness while retaining a very low Life Cycle Cost. With over ten years of operational experience with customers around the world, the G550 CAEW offers more capabilities on a single platform compared with other AEW aircraft available in the market today.


IAI/ELTA's G550 CAEW provides­ the optimal solution for the UK AWACS Replacement, as it provides maximum command and control capabilities at the lowest overall cost, freeing budgets for additional weapon purchases.

Offering the Edge in Operational Capabilities

The G550 CAEW AESA Radar provides rapid target acquisition and information with a total of 360° coverage by using the latest GaN and signal processing technologies. Radar characteristics include high-accuracy three-dimensional tracking, low false-alarm rate, flexible and high target revisit time, electronic counter-countermeasures and programmable search and track modes of operation. The G550 CAEW mission system is highly automated and uses advanced multi-sensor data fusion techniques to cross-correlate data generated by Radar, IFF, ESM, and network data, creating a clean and reliable Recognized Air Picture (RAP).

The Gulfstream G550 platform, powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710C4-11 turbofan engines, offers the highest level of reliability that can be achieved in the market today, coupled with low maintenance costs. The G550 CAEW is always ready for missions with a turnaround time of under one hour. The G550 CAEW operates at 41,000 ft., well above commercial air traffic. All systems can be operational within 10 minutes from takeoff, well before reaching operational altitude within 20 minutes. The G550 CAEW can provide more on-station time than similar available AEW solutions. This means a smaller fleet of G550 CAEW is needed to perform the same tasks as a larger fleet of AWACS would require. The G550 CAEW can fly at a maximum speed of 0.82 Mach and can reach a range of more than 4,000 Nm. The G550 CAEW operates from short narrow airfields making it more flexible for mission planning and deployment.

The Italian Air Force joins the expanding G550 CAEW user community

In July 2012, a contract was signed between the Italian and Israeli Governments, to supply the Italian Air Force with two G550 CAEW Systems, including ground stations, mission planning & training facilities, and logistics support.

The Italian Air force received their first G550 CAEW during December 2016. It has subsequently flown on numerous NATO exercises, including alongside Italian F-35s, Eurofighters, Tornados, and M-346 trainer jets, where it successfully demonstrated advanced AEW and ISR capabilities.

The second G550 CAEW was delivered during December 2017 and joined its counterpart at Pratica di Mare Air Base, south of Rome, where it immediately commenced operational duties.

The Italian G550 CAEW is equipped with a NATO-compatible communication suite developed jointly by IAI/ELTA and Leonardo. The G550 CAEW is interoperable with the Air Force, Navy and ground force assets and includes Secure V/UHF, HF, LVHF & satellite communications, VoIP Intercom, secure data links (L-16, VMF, JREAP), IFF Mode 4 & 5 Compatible Interrogators and Transponders and SAASM GPS.


The Italian air force operates two G550 CAEW aircraft. Their radars use the latest GaN and signal processing technologies, along with a NATO-compatible communication suite developed jointly by IAI/ELTA and Leonardo.

The G550 CAEW system has six multi-purpose operator stations with 24" displays. The high level of automation and advanced modern electronics allow the six operators to perform all required mission tasks. The Mission Suite presents a full aerial situation picture, combining the information from the various sensors and data links into a RAP. Additional remote operators can receive the RAP in real-time via a SATCOM link and actively participate in the mission.

G550 CAEW - the optimal solution for the UK AWACS Replacement

As the world faces both traditional and unconventional threats, countries must search out reliable and flexible AEW&C solutions. ELTA is well positioned to provide a mature, Off-The-Shelf, high-end, NATO compliant, operationally-proven AEW&C solution, to the United Kingdom.

A G550 CAEW fleet can be purchased at a highly competitive price and can be operated with very high reliability and availability at unprecedented low life-cycle costs. This is made possible by the low fuel cost and inherent advantages of the commercial business jet infrastructure, such as 24/7 worldwide aircraft support, quick maintenance and wide availability of spare parts.

ELTA understands well the challenges and apprehensions when choosing critical technology for protecting their national sovereignty from threats both small and large. The G550 CAEW system was designed to provide maximum command and control capabilities at the lowest overall cost, freeing budgets for additional weapon purchases.

As is common practice with in-country Industrial-Participation, ELTA plans to work with local integrators and suppliers to ensure a high-level of UK Content and leadership, and to ensure the success of the program and shorten the delivery schedule.

Since the G550 CAEW is Off-The-Shelf and already operating in NATO airspace, ELTA can assure a quick delivery and deployment of the system, thus making the G550 CAEW the optimal candidate for the UK AWACS Replacement program.
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[*] posted on 19-12-2018 at 02:34 PM


NATO completes E-3A GATM upgrades

Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

18 December 2018


The new 'glass' cockpit will enable the E-3 to fly in commercial airspace. Source: Boeing

The last of 14 Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to be upgraded for operations in commercial airspace has been delivered back to NATO, the company announced on 18 December.

With the first aircraft having been fitted with Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) technology by Boeing in the US and delivered back to NATO in 2016, the remaining 13 were upgraded by Airbus as the NATO AWACS support authority at the company's Manching facility in southern Germany.

The programme was focused on a new flight management system and the installation of 50 new 'black boxes', as well as the integration of flight safety avionic systems. In addition to making the aircraft GATM-compliant, the programme also reduced the flight crew from three to two.

Based on a modified Boeing 707/320 commercial airframe, the E-3 is built around a 9.1 m-diameter rotating radome that sits atop the fuselage. This radar has a range of more than 400 km (which equates to a coverage area of more than 500,000 km 2 of airspace) to look down and detect, identify, and track low-flying aircraft over land or water. The E-3A's typical crew of 14 is made up of surveillance operators (SOs), weapons controllers (WCs), fighter allocators (FAs), technical director (TD) (mission chief), surveillance controllers (SCs), and passive systems controllers (PSCs); technical support (TS) crew to support the onboard systems (including the AN/APY-2 radar); and a flight crew made up of the aircraft commander, first officer, flight engineer, and navigator.

The NATO E-3A Component originally fielded 18 E-3A AWACS aircraft when it formed in 1982. An accident in 1995 and the retirement of three airframes due to budgetary cutbacks over the years have reduced the number to 14, which are slated to remain in service through to 2035.

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