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Pakistan Confirms Deliveries of Follow-On Erieye AEW&C

In its annual yearbook for 2017-2018, the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) confirmed that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) took delivery of its sixth Saab 2000-based Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The Directorate General of Defence Purchase (DGDP) ordered the sixth Erieye AEW&C from Saab for $94.95 million US in 2017-2018.[1]

Public export-import registries indicated that the PAF started implementing the follow-on Erieye program in April 2018, with deliveries concluding in April 2019. It appears that the additional Erieye AEW&C aircraft were integrated to three Saab 2000s procured from Skyworld Aviation in November 2018. In any case, the MoDP has basically confirmed that the PAF now operates six Erieye AEW&C aircraft.

The PAF ordered four Erieye AEW&C in 2006. It had originally sought six AEW&C, but trimmed its purchase due to a resource reduction (as a result of the earthquake in 2005). The total value of the Erieye contract was $1.15 billion US, but that included training, logistics, spare parts, and other ancillary costs. However, the cost of the Erieye AEW&C on its own was $93 million US (close to the figure outlined by the MoDP).

In order to recover its fleet following the terrorist attack on Minhas Air Base in 2012, the PAF also set-up an extensive support base for the Saab 2000, one sufficient enough to repair damaged aircraft.

Although the Erieye is now an older system (with Saab actively promoting the Erieye ER), at less than $95 million, it is a comparatively low-cost solution for the PAF. However, the Saab 2000 is an integral piece to this cost-effectiveness, and there are a very limited number of such aircraft available on the market.

The PAF has not indicated any plan for procuring the Erieye ER, a gallium-nitride (GaN)-based system with a 70% increase in detection range. However, seeing the efficacy of the Erieye platform in its recent stand-off with India, interest in the improved version is not out of the question.


[1] Year Book (sic) 2017-2018. Ministry of Defence Production. Government of Pakistan. 05 September 2019. URL:

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