SAAB Technologies has unveiled concepts for medium-altitude strike reconnaissance and high-altitude airborne early warning (AEW) unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) as part of a proposed low-cost approach to an internet-based command and control network being developed for the Swedish defence forces.


The concepts also include a low-observable 'leave behind' battle damage assessment UAV which would be carried by either the strike reconnaissance or manned strike aircraft.

The strike reconnaissance air vehicle, designated 'Skuadern', could fly as soon as 2006, with SAAB pushing the Swedish Ministry of Defence to fund construction of up to three demonstrator aircraft.

Skuadern would fly at speeds of up to Mach 3 with a range of 2,000km (1,080nm) and an endurance of 9h. The 2,000kg (4,400lb) aircraft would have a wing span of 4m (3ft 3in) and a length of 6m.

The AEW UAV, designated 'Gladen', would carry the Ericsson Erieye phased array radar now in service with the Swedish air force, but could also be equipped simultaneously with Ericsson's Carabas foliage penetration radar and a synthetic aperture radar ground imaging system.

SAAB says the surveillance aircraft, with a 40m² high aspect-ratio wing, would be capable of sustained operations for up to 32h at altitudes of 49,000-58,000ft (15,000-19,000m).

The leave-behind UAV, designated 'Getoga', is a 6m-long, 1,400kg vehicle carrying infra-red and electro-optic sensors assess battle damage and monitor recovery operations for up to 5h.

All three UAV types would draw heavily on technology developed for Gripen. Command and control would be via an in-theatre battlefield network based on broadband communications using wireless Internet protocol (IP).

The Swedish Ministry of Defence plans to test the use of wireless IP as the basis of an extended command and control system in a demonstration program known as LedysystT [correct] commencing in 2002.

Airborne trials, with wireless IP nodes fitted to Swedish Air Force Gripen aircraft as well as maritime and land-based platforms are to commence in 2005. The programme is intended to culminate in the fielding of operational systems in the 2010-2020 timeframe.

Source: Flight International