GlobalEye Conducts First Flight

 - March 14, 2018, 10:13 AM
The extent of the modifications required to turn a Global 6000 into a GlobalEye are readily apparent in this view of the first aircraft on its maiden flight. (Photo: Saab)

The first of three Saab GlobalEye “swing-role surveillance system” aircraft ordered by the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence successfully performed its first flight today. Operating under the Swedish civil registration that it had worn for its pre-modification delivery flight, SE-RMY, the aircraft took off from the Saab plant at Linköping, Sweden, and performed a series of maneuvers over the Baltic Sea at up to 25,000 feet before returning after 1 hour 46 minutes airborne.

"Today's flight went as planned, with the performance level matching our high expectations," said Magnus Fredriksson, Saab experimental test pilot. "The aircraft's smooth handling was just as predicted and [the airplane was] a real pleasure for me to fly."

The first GlobalEye was ceremonially unveiled on February 23. Taxi tests got under way on March 9, clearing the aircraft for its first flight. Initial trials are intended primarily to validate the jet's performance and handling against computer and wind tunnel predictions.

Although the GlobalEye is based on a Bombardier Global 6000 business jet, there are numerous aerodynamic differences, not least of which are the “ski-box” and underbelly fairings for the Saab Erieye ER and Leonardo Seaspray 7500E radars, respectively. Their installation requires additional vertical fin area on the lower fuselage and tailplanes to restore directional stability.