Pakistan's first Saab 2000 AEW aircraft enters final testing
PICTURES: Pakistan's first Saab 2000 AEW aircraft enters final testing
By Craig Hoyle
Pakistan's first of five Saab 2000-based airborne early warning and control aircraft has entered final system testing in Sweden, with the work having already demonstrated the capabilities of its integrated self-protection equipment.
Islamabad became the launch - and so far only - military customer for a Saab 2000 derivative when it signed a deal for the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar-equipped type in June 2006. Its first example made its flight debut from Saab's Linköping site in mid-2008.
Pakistan is the first customer for a military derivative of the Saab 2000 turboprop
Saab in early October announced the start of final system tests for Pakistan, and says its first aircraft will be flown to the country later this year to expand the work. The latter process will assess the "aircraft, radar, command and control system, communications and live situation picture into the Pakistan air force's command and control ground environment", it says.
Recent tests conducted in Sweden have included the release of flares intended to protect the modified regional turboprop against missile attack.
Saab has previously said that the AEW configuration developed for Pakistan includes five on-board operator stations, with the surveillance aircraft to have an operating ceiling of over 30,000ft (9,150m) and a mission endurance approaching 10h.
The Swedish manufacturer is promoting the AEW version of its Saab 2000 to other potential future customers, and is also offering to supply further variants of the type configured for tasks including maritime patrol and signals intelligence.