Saab sees multiple opportunities to add to its customer list for the GlobalEye surveillance aircraft, including through a potential pooled service which would enhance monitoring of the Nordic/Baltic region.

“The market outlook is quite significant,” says Fredrik Follin, chief marketing officer for Saab’s surveillance business area, which has so far delivered four of the heavily modified aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, and secured a two-unit order from Sweden for the heavily adapted Bombardier Global 6000.

GlobalEye pair

Source: Saab

Saab wants to add to its existing GlobalEye customer list of Sweden and the United Arab Emirates

The Swedish company’s next sales opportunity lies with South Korea, which has a four-aircraft requirement to bolster its existing airborne early warning fleet of Boeing 737NG-based E-7As.

Seoul is expected to reach a decision late this year or in early 2025, with a test and evaluation activity now under way.

“We think that we have a very strong position, because we represent the only viable solution that is in operation and can demonstrate the [required] effect,” Follin said at Saab’s Linkoping site on 20 May.

Saab’s main rival for the requirement – an updated version of the E-7 – “is not relevant as of right now when it comes to maturity, because we are in operation and they are not”, he argues.


Current Boeing E-3F operator France also has received demonstrations of the GlobalEye system as it considers its future needs.

“France has a very specific concept of operations. We are discussing how and if this could be a perfect fit for them,” Follin says.

Asked whether Paris could consider purchasing a system using a Canadian-built business jet, rather than an alternative model from Dassault Aviation’s product line, he notes: “For us to shift to a different platform is not a technical problem – it is a time and price issue. Do you want to add that lead time, and that cost?

“What we are offering is a solution that we know will bring operational effect very fast. We think it is maybe smarter to not focus on the aircraft platform, but to focus on the operational capability that comes with the GlobalEye, and do a spiral development jointly,” he adds.

Canada, meanwhile, is in an early study phase with regard to its future airborne early warning and surveillance requirements. “We have a Canadian platform, and we do part of the [GlobalEye] interior with a Canadian company, so the industry correlation is already there to a high extent,” Follin says. “I think this could absolutely be a viable solution for Canada as well.”


Source: Saab

Saab’s GlobalEye platform is a major modification of the Global 6000/6500 business jet

Nearer to home, Saab is promoting a pooled operating concept for its product, which is able to simultaneously conduct airborne, ground and maritime surveillance tasks.

Airborne surveillance was among the topics discussed during recent bilateral talks between Sweden and Denmark, and the company also sees neighbouring Finland and Norway as potential future partners in conducting such operations.

“Our geographical position is ideal for a joint effort,” Follin says. “We have identified that a joint operational case within the Nordic countries could be possible from 2027.”

A proposed model would see Uppsala in Sweden as main operating base, with forward basing locations in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Saab says that a GlobalEye flying at 37,000ft would offer a surveillance range of up to 350nm (650km).

“Right now, we offer the world’s most advanced airborne early warning and control system. There is no-one else out there that can do the magic that we do,” Follin claims.

The GlobalEye system’s capabilities also will feed into NATO’s Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) network.

While NATO plans to begin replacing its current 707-based E-3A fleet with E-7As from early next decade, he notes: “The AFSC will need a number of different assets, and we will be an integrated part within the entire structure with GlobalEye.”

Modification work has begun at Linkoping on the first Global 6000 in support of the order for the Swedish air force.

“The first aircraft is under full construction in the hangar, and the next one is coming quite soon,” Follin says. The company cites a roughly three-year modification time per aircraft, with deliveries to the domestic customer to start in 2027.

The Swedish air force will field the capability under the designation S 106, with its aircraft to replace two aged Erieye radar-equipped Saab 340s. Stockholm also holds an option to add another two GlobalEyes to its fleet.

“GlobalEye as specified for the Swedish armed forces is designed not only to meet the national criteria for Sweden, but also to be 100% NATO-interoperable,” Follin notes.

Meanwhile, launch operator the UAE is due to take delivery of its fifth and final GlobalEye “quite soon”, he confirms.