R-99 AEW&C aircraft

Embraer Defense and Security has awarded a contract to Saab to upgrade the Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) mission system, installed on the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB) E-99 surveillance aircraft fleet.

The SEK380m ($59m) award forms part of an original $215m contract secured by Embraer to modernise FAB’s five E-99, also called the Embraer 145 AEW&C aircraft, in January 2013.

In addition to the Erieye modernisation, the contract covers upgrades to the aircraft’s electronic warfare systems, command and control systems, electronic countermeasures, in addition to the delivery of six mission planning and analysis stations for training and improvement of air crews.

Saab Electronic Defence Systems business area head Micael Johansson said the upgraded Erieye systems will support the country’s national security.

"Saab’s Erieye AEW&C mission system provides excellent surveillance capabilities and control over air and sea targets," Johansson added.

"The SEK380m ($59m) award forms part of an original $215m contract secured by Embraer to modernise FAB’s five E-99s."

Based on the active phased-array pulse-Doppler radar, the Erieye is a high-performance, long-range AEW&C system designed to detect and automatically track both air and sea targets, including cruise missiles and jet-skis, located at ranges of up to 450km in hostile electronic warfare environments.

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Equipped with a suite of sensors, C2 and communications systems, the system is capable of transmitting onboard operator architecture or downlink data through an associated datalink subsystem to a ground-based air defence network.

Operational since 1997, the system is also present onboard the EMB-145 aircraft of Mexico and Greece, Saab 340 surveillance aircraft of the Swedish Air Force, as well as Saab 2000 aircraft, intended for Pakistan.

Upgrade work is scheduled to be carried out from 2014 to 2017.

Primarily operated by FAB for environmental protection and natural resources survey, the E-99 aircraft are also used for border surveillance from the Annapolis air force base, as part of the Amazon Surveillance System programme.

Image: Brazilian Air Force aircraft equipped with the Erieye surveillance radar. Photo courtesy of Tonyingesson.

Defence Technology