Saab Boosts Erieye Maritime Mode as AEW Goes Multirole

 - January 27, 2012, 9:35 AM
Saab is boosting the capability of the Erieye AEW radar system by adding the ability to detect small targets at sea. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

Saab Surveillance Systems is offering a new maritime mode for the Erieye AEW&C system that can detect moving objects as small as jet skis or rubber boats that might be used by terrorist groups. Mats Wicksell, technical program manager, told an AEW conference organized by Defence iQ in London that AEW systems can play an important role in maritime surveillance because of their wide-area coverage.

Like other AEW systems, the Erieye radar already offers detection of larger vessels. Mounted on converted Saab 2000 or Embraer EMB-145 regional airliners, the Erieye system has now been sold to eight countries. Saab is still unable to reveal the identity of the latest customer, which AIN believes to be Saudi Arabia.

Presenters and delegates at the conference agreed that AEW systems must offer additional capability to justify their costs. “There is a clear shift in requirements toward border surveillance, law enforcement and maritime security…and affordability is the next challenge,” said Avishai Izhakian, deputy general manager of IAI Elta. He described the C295 AEW&C system that the Israeli company is codeveloping with Airbus Military. The two companies hope to find a launch customer soon, having now completed aerodynamic flight testing of the radome.

Izhakian noted that the C295 AEW&C system is being offered with an optional SAR/GMTI radar. “This is a unique combination that does not compromise capability by having an air surveillance radar trying to do ground surveillance,” he added.