Sweden has detailed a plan to donate its in-service airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) assets to Ukraine, and to expand its own replacement fleet of Saab GlobalEye aircraft.

On 29 May, Stockholm announced a new round of assistance for Kyiv valued at SKr13.3 billion ($1.2 billion) – its “largest military support package to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began”.

“The support package will include Airborne Surveillance and Control aircraft (ASC 890), which will provide Ukraine with a completely new capability against both airborne and maritime targets,” the Swedish defence ministry says.

Saab 340 AEW

Source: Swedish air force

The Swedish air force’s ASC 890 system totals two Erieye radar-equipped Saab 340 twin-turboprops

“Ukraine’s capability to identify and engage targets at long range will be strengthened,” it adds.

In addition to transferring its Saab Erieye radar-equipped Saab 340s, Sweden also will provide Kyiv with “training, technical equipment and methodological support for air surveillance and command and control”.

“The time for implementation will be decided in close coordination with the Air Force Capability Coalition and synchronised with the introduction of [Lockheed Martin’s] F-16” by Ukraine, the defence ministry says.

“Sweden’s support will contribute to strengthening Ukraine’s joint military capability,” it adds.

“The government has assessed in dialogue with the Swedish armed forces that Sweden can spare the ASC 890 aircraft for a limited period and that in certain cases, special measures will be required to compensate for the capability transferred to Ukraine. The participation of other countries constitutes a crucial part of the compensatory measures,” it says.

The Swedish air force’s ASC 390 system totals two of the modified twin-turboprops. The service has previously said that the type’s Erieye radar has a detection range of more than 243nm (450km) while operating airborne threats, and 173nm for surface ships.

“The donation will entail a temporary decrease of Sweden’s defence capability, which will be addressed by procuring additional S 106 GlobalEye aircraft and advancing previous orders for two new GlobalEye aircraft,” the defence ministry says.

Two of the Bombardier Global 6000-based surveillance aircraft are already on contract for the Swedish air force, with Stockholm having previously held options to double that fleet size. The service’s lead aircraft is already at Saab’s Linkoping site undergoing remanufacturing to the multi-role surveillance configuration, with its delivery due in 2027.

However, the defence ministry says: “To compensate for the donation of the ASC 890, the delivery to Sweden of two new radar surveillance and command aircraft of the S 106 GlobalEye type will be expedited.

“An additional S 106 GlobalEye will be procured to fully maintain Swedish capability,” it adds.

Also announced as part of the latest equipment support package is Sweden’s donation of Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles adapted for use by Ukrainian ground-based air-defence systems.

Sweden also could potentially donate some of its Saab Gripen C/D fighters to Kyiv in the future. But with the Ukrainian air force currently preparing to field surplus F-16s to be gifted by Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, Stockholm’s provision of AEW&C assets will be of more immediate operational benefit.

Story updated with Swedish defence ministry comments regarding accelerated GlobalEye fielding.