The Pakistan air force has taken delivery of the first of its four Saab 2000-based airborne early warning and control aircraft from Sweden.
Islamabad became the first military customer for a Saab 2000 derivative when it signed a deal for the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar-equipped type in June 2006. Its first example made its flight debut from Saab's Linköping site in mid-2008.
"The aircraft landed at one of the Pakistan air force's main operating bases, marking a major milestone in the overall modernisation plan," says the service.
"Besides detection of high- and medium-altitude flying aircraft, this state-of-the-art system is also capable of detecting low-level flying objects over land and sea at extended ranges [and] of picking even the surface targets over the sea," says the air force.
The service says the type will enable it "to boost its operational capability manifold by achieving requisite early warning for efficient and meaningful air defence of its airspace".
The aircraft enters service after extensive testing to ensure its capability matches Pakistan's requirements. This includes demonstrating the capabilities of its integrated self-protection equipment in Sweden, including the release of flares intended to protect the modified regional turboprop against missile attack.
Within Pakistan, Saab and the air force have been conducting tests of the aircraft, radar, command and control system, communications and live situation picture into the service's command and control ground system.
Saab has previously said the AEW configuration developed for Pakistan includes five on-board operator stations, with the surveillance aircraft to have an operating ceiling of over 30,000ft (9,150m) and a mission endurance approaching 10h.
The Swedish manufacturer is promoting the AEW version of its Saab 2000 to other potential customers, and is offering to supply further variants of the type configured for tasks such as maritime patrol and signals intelligence.