UAE buys 2 Saab 340 AEW, 25 Pilatus PC-21

Rocel Felix
Filed on November 17, 2009

The United Arab Emirates’ Armed Forces will be buying from defense and security company Saab, two airborne surveillance system for 148.3 mln euros or Dh814.4 mln.

The first Saab 340 Airborne Early Warning aircraft, that will be equipped with Erieye radar and data links, is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2010, while the second will be delivered in the first quarter of 2011.

The UAE Armed Forces also signed on Tuesday, a 520 million Swiss Francs or Dh1.89 billion contract for the purchase of 25 basic training PC-21 aircraft from Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft Ltd..

The delivery of the aircraft will start in the fourth quarter of 2011 and will be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

“We needed to upgrade our system, and the initial training can be done on a cheaper platform,” said Major General Pilot Faris Mohamed AlMazrouei, UAE GHQ Armed Forces chief of logistics staff, in explaining the government’s decision to acquire the Saab planes..

The Saab 340 AEW will be used for early warning operations and training. The company will be providing associated systems and providing air crew training, maintenance and repair services. Together with associated ground equipment, the system will also integrate border control solutions and rescue operations.

“We offered to the UAE Armed Forces, the Saab 340 because they wanted to build their experience, and we could deliver that to them at the shortest delivery time. The other options are not yet available,” said Sten Soderstrom, Saab vice president for sales and marketing.

AlMazrouei said the UAE Air Force and Air Defence is also currently evaluating several options to acquire permanent solution command and early warning aircraft to beef up the operational requirements of the country’s armed forces.

These options include Boeing MESA, Northop Grumman EZD, and Saab 2000 ERIEYE AEWAC.

“We don’t know yet what the final solution will be, there is no decision on it yet,” said Al Mazrouei.

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