Saab (Stand D11) has chosen the Singapore Airshow to fully launch the GlobalEye, a multi-sensor, multi-mission platform that can perform a wide range of surveillance duties across air, sea and land domains. The aircraft, then known as SRSS (swing-role surveillance system), was “soft-launched” last November when it was announced that the UAE Air Force and Air Defense would be buying two.
Among GlobalEye’s suite of sensors is a thoroughly reworked version of the Erieye airborne early warning radar that incorporates the game-changing gallium nitride technology. GlobalEye thus becomes the first airborne application of GaN radar technology.
GlobalEye is based on a Bombardier Global 6000 platform, the business jet offering sufficient size and power to accommodate the sensor systems, and an endurance of more than 11 hours in full surveillance fit. The platform offers high-altitude operation, comfort for the crew, and a fast escape speed should it need to quickly exit its operational area. A thoroughly modern flight deck features advanced piloting aids such as synthetic- and enhanced-vision systems, and a head-up display.
At the heart of the GlobalEye system is the new Erieye ER radar. This has drawn on GaN technology used in Saab’s latest Giraffe radars to create a sensor with a 70 percent range increase over the previous Erieye generation to more than 300 nautical miles. This has been made possible by GaN transmit/receive modules that, for the same power input as the current Erieye, produce a radar signal output of more than double.
As well as the overall range improvement, this power increase allows the S-band radar to spot targets with much smaller radar cross-sections. Saab describes it has “reclaiming the detection distance against low-observable targets.” Furthermore, the adaptive radar can generate a very high refresh rate against targets of interest.
Erieye ER has long-range capabilities against land and sea targets, which are augmented by a belly-mounted maritime surveillance radar that also has overland GMTI (ground-moving target indicator) and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) capabilities. The Selex ES Seaspray 7500E AESA radar has been selected for GlobalEye. Additional sensors include a FLIR Systems Star Safire 380HD electro-optic turret and antennas for ESM (electronic support measures).
More complex electronic intelligence and communications intelligence systems can be accommodated as optional equipment, integrated for joint mission planning and analysis. GlobalEye is equipped with a comprehensive communications suite, with Link 11/16/22 and other datalinks, satcom and voice comms. Identification capability covers cooperative systems such as IFF and ADS-B for aerial targets and AIS for ships, as well as non-cooperative capabilities such as ESM and inverse SAR radar.
GlobalEye has a new mission system that fuses data from the aircraft’s sensors and presents it in various formats on 30-inch high-definition screens, with picture-in-picture capability and a range of map presentations. A typical system would have five operator consoles arranged along the port side of the cabin, each of which is able to undertake any of the surveillance tasks. Further consoles could be added, if required. A forward crew rest area with six seats is provided.
In operation, the GlobalEye would typically orbit at high altitude conducting wide-area surveillance of air, sea and land, with the ability to descend to low level if required to conduct detailed multi-intelligence surveillance in the case of overland or maritime scenarios. The flexibility of the system allows the aircraft to undertake several different tasks within one mission, including simultaneous operations, and to seamlessly switch between them.
The UAE signed for its two aircraft (and an upgrade for its current Saab 340 platforms with Erieye ER) last November 8, and the first Global 6000 airframe is due to arrive soon at Saab’s plant for outfitting with mission systems, many of which have been partly integrated into the overall system. The delivery cycle is around three years. Saab is offering the GlobalEye in differing configurations, such as an AEW-dedicated version to which the maritime radar and EO sensors, and/or the dedicated signals intelligence system, could subsequently be added if desired.