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Why long-range airborne surveillance matters

4 min read

To see beyond the Earths curvature, you need to be high up in the air to get a wide coverage. Being that high up puts demands on your equipment. You need a long-range radar and a wide array of sensors to paint a comprehensive and correct picture of the areas of concern. And not less important, you want to be able stay high up in the air for long periods of time to get a persistent situational awareness.

However, because of the Earth´s curvature a radar can only “see” in a straight line. That´s why radar systems are usually installed in high places so it can cover a larger area and overcome the Earth´s curvature. This enables you to move the radar horizon much further away than is possible with ground-based radar systems on land or sea, allowing you to see much further.

That´s why Saab has developed long-range airborne surveillance systems for more than 30 years,  systems that give early warning as well as detailed and reliable real-time information on what has been observed and detected. Early detection and control is vital for deploying the right countermeasures and it is certainly a substantial tactical upside when you can observe without being seen.

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Ultra long-range airborne surveillance

GlobalEye´s Erieye Extended Range (ER) radar is a new generation long-range airborne surveillance radar, providing simultaneous air, sea and land surveillance. It is a result of Saab’s continuous development of the Erieye concept, increasing the detection range by 70 per cent against ‘stealthy’ low observable air targets. Detecting low observable air targets at long-range isn´t easy. It requires a large radar, a big antenna with high power. Erieye ER is based on GaN technology to enable the high power that is needed. This is also the reason why we get ultra-long range performance across three domains.

Erieye ER radar is built on multi-channel AESA sensors where the scanning direction is steered electronically and also enables higher output power to increase the range performance. Long-range airborne surveillance uniquely possesses speed, reach and the flexibility to provide that information across the air, sea and land.

Multi-domain advantage

Today´s threats are found in all domains. A mission can start with surveillance in one domain and then continue in another domain. GlobalEye is a multi-domain airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) solution. With its mix of modern active and passive sensors, it provides ultra-long range detection and identification of objects in air, at sea and over land. The situational awareness and the ability to take on multiple roles at the same time is made possible by GlobalEye’s unique sensor suite and modern command and control system.

To safeguard people and nations, you need the ability to provide persistent early warning and timely trusted information over multiple domains. This is exactly what GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) provides – the key capabilities for creating a multi-domain advantage.

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Key to awareness

Information is key to any nation´s defence. Whatever the challenge is, decisions and actions need to be driven by information; this is what enables command and control. A large amount of data is fused together in the command and control system of GlobalEye, which creates situational awareness for decision makers at different levels. It is important for decision makers to have the correct and timely information rather than every single detail. Having an airborne surveillance solution like GlobalEye in the network maximises joint forces’ operational performance. An airborne ultra-long range sensor system can warn and command other sensors in the network and through this extend the time for planning and implementation of countermeasures.

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The advanced Erieye ER (Extended Range) radar is the primary sensor of GlobalEye and providing simultaneous air, sea and ground surveillance. Enhancing the radar detection range gives more airspace coverage and earlier detection and identification of threats. More time to decide and act means better chance of maintaining air supremacy.

Strategic national asset

Regardless of operating during peacetime, in crisis or maybe even at full conflict – having the GlobalEye is key to success since it provides a great advantage to any nation protecting its national and territorial integrity. GlobalEye can work alone or be easily integrated with other national assets. You will have a joint air, sea and land platform that can also be used during natural disasters such as forest fires and search and rescue operations.

Saab is well renowned for being a supplier of state-of-the art sensor systems for several decades and is a pioneer in the area of long-range airborne early warning radars since more than 30 years. With GlobalEye, Saab has redefined the long-range airborne surveillance market with a new level of multi-mission capability.