Andrzej Jeziorski/LINKOPING

SAAB AIRCRAFT is about to begin windtunnel tests of an airborne early-warning and control (AEWC) version of its high-speed Saab 2000 turboprop.

The aircraft offers better performance and superior command and control capability to that of the current Saab 340 AEW aircraft, the first of which has recently been delivered to the Swedish air force. The Saab 2000 will be equipped with the same Ericsson Erieye S-band active phased-array radar.

The Saab 2000 AEWC can be configured to take up to five command and control workstations and, like the 340 variant, can be quickly reconfigured to operate as a VIP/staff transport for up to 36 passengers. Saab forecasts that the aircraft will have a take-off run of 800m with a 750m landing run. Its maximum cruise speed at 25,000ft (7,600m) and 90% maximum take-off weight is expected to be 355kt (650km/h), and its endurance is predicted at 9.1h.

Pelle Otterstrom, Saab's vice-president for Government programmes, says that the aircraft is on the shortlist for South Korea's AEW requirement, alongside the Boeing 767 AWACS. Once an order is received, he believes that deliveries of the aircraft could begin within two years.

According to Ericsson, the Erieye can be used to detect surface targets as far as the horizon, fighter-sized targets to about 350km (190nm), and missiles to about 150km. The radar's instrumented range is 450km.

The Swedish air force has ordered six Saab 340 AEWs, without the on-board command and control capability. These aircraft send radar data to a ground-based command and control station via a secure datalink, and have the military designation S 100B Argus.

The first of these aircraft was delivered by Saab for test and evaluation by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration earlier this year. The remainder will be delivered by April 1999.

Source: Flight International