November 19, 2009: The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is buying two AEW (airborne early warning) aircraft from Sweden, for $110 million each. The system is a Saab 340 airliner mounting a Swedish Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar (which consists of thousands of tiny radars that can be independently aimed in different directions). This is similar to the AESA radar used on the American JSTARS aircraft, enabling it to locate vehicles moving on the ground. The Swedish AESA is cheaper, because its built like a long bar, mounted on top of the aircraft. This means the radar can only see, in a 120 degree arc, off both sides of the aircraft. A 60 degree arc in the front and back is uncovered. The radar can spot large aircraft out to nearly 500 kilometers, and more common fighter sized aircraft at about 300 kilometers.
The Saab 2000 is a 22 ton, twin prop aircraft, with a cruising speed of 660 kilometers an hour. The aircraft can stay in the air about four hours per sortie. The Ericsson PS-890 Erieye radar can also spot ships at sea, and thus can also fill in for maritime reconnaissance.
The Saab 340 has been in use by the Swedish Air Force since the 1990s, and has also been exported to Brazil, Greece and Pakistan.