Bombardier handed over a fifth Global business jet to Swedish defense supplier Saab for the GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning and Control program. Saab originally selected the Global 6000 for the Airborne Early Warning and Control program and the initial aircraft converted to GlobalEye configuration completed its first flight in 2018. Since then, Saab has delivered three fully converted GlobalEyes to the end customer, United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defense. The UAE upped the firm order to five copies late last year.
The fifth aircraft first underwent interior completions work at Flying Colours in Peterborough, Ontario, before arriving at Saab’s facility in Linköping, Sweden, for the full special mission conversion. Saab equips the Globals with its Erieye Extended Range radar, as well as an advanced suite of sensors and a multi-domain command and control (C2) system. The aircraft can be used for air, maritime, and ground surveillance with more than 11 hours of endurance and the ability to get in and out of 6,500-foot runways, Saab said.
In addition to the UAE contract, Saab has offered the GlobalEye alongside the Gripen for the Finnish HX fighter competition currently under evaluation.
“Bombardier Globals are ideally suited for conversion into specialized assets,” said Steve Patrick, v-p of specialized aircraft for Bombardier. “Our Global 6000 and increasingly its successor, our Global 6500, are known as the go-to platforms for high-altitude, long-endurance missions that require significant payload capability with ample available power, hosted on a reliable platform featuring advanced avionics and systems technology.”
As it extends its reach in the special mission market, Bombardier designated its facility in Wichita as a Center of Excellence for Specialized Aircraft with complex modifications capabilities. The Canadian manufacturer noted that more than 550 Bombardier Global, Challenger, and Learjet business aircraft are currently in special missions operations worldwide.