PICTURES: Thai AEW aircraft makes debut flight alongside Gripen fighter

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Thailand's lone Saab 340-based airborne early warning and control system aircraft has performed its debut flight, with the event seeing it flown alongside the nation's first Saab Gripen fighter.

Conducted from Linköping, Sweden on 13 November, the first flight of the Royal Thai Air Force's Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar-equipped transport lasted 2h 14min, and "went as expected", the company says. It will continue its flight test activities over the coming months, with Sweden having previously said that its delivery will occur during 2011.

 
© Peter Liander/Saab
The surveillance aircraft flew alongside Thailand's first Gripen fighter

Bangkok has so far ordered six Gripen C/Ds, one Saab 340 AEW aircraft and one Saab 340 trainer, plus related datalink equipment and command-and-control systems. It has delayed the planned signature of a repeat deal because of economic and political factors, but Saab believes the deal will eventually be approved.

 
© Peter Liander/Saab

Saab is also in the advanced stages of preparing a fleet of five Saab 2000-based AEW&C aircraft for Pakistan.