The Saab 2000 AEW&C airborne early warning and control aircraft is a variant of the Saab 2000 regional transport turboprop aircraft equipped with the spine-mounted Saab Systems Erieye PS-890 side-looking reconnaissance radar. The first customer for the Saab 2000 AEW&C, the Pakistan Fiza’ya (the Pakistan Air Force), placed the order on Saab, based in Stockholm, in June 2006. The first of five aircraft was rolled out in April 2008 and is scheduled to enter service in 2009. Thailand announced the selection of the Saab 2000 AEW&C in June 2007. The aircraft, fully equipped for airborne early warning and control, can also be used for national security missions, border control, airborne command and control, disaster management coordination and for emergency air traffic control.
Saab 2000 construction
Saab Surveillance Systems is the lead contractor for the Saab 2000 AEW&C programme. Saab Aerotech is responsible for the development and modification of the Saab 2000 regional aircraft to the AEW&C configuration. Six other Saab business units are also contracted for major elements of the programme. The outer wing sections have been strengthened, as has the roof of the fuselage, to accommodate the weight of the Erieye antenna and its housing. The vertical tail area has been increased to provide improved stabilisation.
The main cabin is fitted with five mission operator consoles on the starboard side. The windows on the starboard side of the main cabin have been removed. The cabin is air-conditioned and fitted with an active noise cancellation system. The aft section of the main cabin accommodates fuel tanks and mission equipment. Two auxiliary fuel tanks are installed on the starboard side in the mid fuselage section immediately aft of the mission consoles. The mission operator consoles perform: system and sensor management; mission planning and simulation; track data processing; asset management and control; identification and allocation. The display systems incorporate digital maps and use high-resolution flat-panel colour displays and touch input display controls. The main cabin aft section also accommodates the electronic warfare equipment, the Erieye equipment and the Erieye power units.
Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) is the lead contractor for the Erieye surveillance radar. The Erieye radar is operational on a number of other aircraft including the Saab 340, Embraer R-99 and Embraer EMB-145. Erieye is an active phased array pulse Doppler radar operating in the 3.1GHz to 3.3GHz band. The radar is operational from three minutes after take-off and during climb and provides an effective surveillance area of 500,000km². The Erieye radar has an instrumental range of 450km and detection range of 350km against a fighter aircraft sized target in dense hostile electronic warfare environments and at low target altitudes. The system is capable of tracking multiple air and sea target over the horizon and provides above 20km altitude coverage, 360° coverage and has sea surveillance capability. The radar incorporates an identification friend or foe interrogator. The system comprises an active phased array pulse Doppler radar with a secondary surveillance radar. The fixed dual sided electronically scanned antenna array is installed in a rectangular housing, dorsally mounted above the fuselage.
Electronic warfare suite
The aircraft’s electronic warfare suite is based on the Saab Avitronics HES-21 electronic support measures (ESM) and self-protection suite. The HES-21 also provides a ground-based support system (EGSS), which provides mission data for the aircraft electronic warfare system and for analysis of recorded data.
Electronic support measures
The electronic support measures (ESM) system comprises digital narrow band and wide band receivers and associated antennae, providing close to 100 % probability of intercept (POI). The digital receiver is equipped with interferometer antenna arrays. The ESM obtains the electronic order of battle (EOB) data and intercepts, characterises and identifies signals, defines their direction of arrival, generating and displaying warning information. The ESM system operates autonomously and allows real time ESM analysis and presentation to the ESM operator on board the aircraft. ESM data is recorded during missions for post mission tactical and technical analysis. Information is transferred to other onboard systems including the command and control system and the radio data link-controller. The radar receivers cover low band (7GHz to 2GHz), mid band (2GHz to 18GHz) and high band (28GHz to 40GHz). The digital RF receiver provides very high sensitivity and selectivity and uses fast Fourier transforms (FFT) and channelisation signal processing techniques. The ESM’s wide band and narrow band receivers provide 360° coverage, and close to 100% probability of intercept. The system provides high sensitivity and selectivity in dense and hostile signal environments.
The self-protection system (SPS) comprises: defensive aids control system, radar warning, laser warning, missile approach warning and chaff and flare dispenser systems. The self-protection suite provides selection and, in automatic mode, the initiation of the chaff and countermeasures sequences. The laser warning system is based on the Saab Avitronics LWS-310 laser warner operating in the 0.5 to 17 microns wavelength bands. Spatial and spectral coverage is provided by an array of three sensors on each side of the aircraft. The missile launch and approach warner (MAW) is based on the Saab Avitronics MAW-300, which can simultaneously monitor and track up to eight threats. It has four sensors, two on each side, and each with 110° azimuthal coverage to provide the overlapped 360° spatial coverage. The chaff and flare dispensing system (CFDS) comprises a dispenser control unit, (CFDC) with a cockpit mounted display and control panel, defensive aids suite computer with a threat library database, two BOL electromechanical dispensers and six BOP pyrotechnical dispensers. The BOL dispenser is a high-capacity, 160-cartridges, electro-mechanical chaff dispenser. The BOL dispensers are installed in the fairings under the wingtip-mounted radar warning pods. The dispenser incorporates vortex generators which provide chaff blooming characteristics and a chaff cloud Doppler response. The BOP dispenser is a pyrotechnic dispenser carrying Nato standard rectangular cartridges or magazines of 39 1in² cartridges. The dispenser has the capability to dispense different ammunition types concurrently. The BOP dispensers are housed on each side of the underside of the fuselage to the aft of the wings. Engine The aircraft is fitted with two Rolls-Royce AE 2100A turboprop engines developing 3,095kW.