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France Nears Deal for Swedish Saab GlobalEye for AWACS Replacement.

France is finalizing the purchase of the GlobalEye surveillance aircraft from Swedish defense manufacturer Saab, according to Intelligence Online as of July 10. This acquisition is intended to replace France's aging fleet of AWACS E-3F Sentry aircraft.                                      

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Built on the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft, the GlobalEye offers a wide range of surveillance capabilities including air, maritime, and ground monitoring (Picture source: Saab)

The GlobalEye, chosen over competitors like Boeing's Wedgetail E-7A, marks a strategic shift towards adopting advanced technologies, as previously embraced by the UAE and Sweden. This decision aligns with updates to French defense strategy, aiming to enhance critical aerial surveillance and command capabilities for modern military operations.

The upcoming acquisition signifies more than just a hardware upgrade; it symbolizes deeper defense collaborations between France and Sweden. This deal is set to be a central topic during the forthcoming state visit of the French President to Sweden on January 30, where discussions will extend beyond the GlobalEye acquisition. Planned topics include possible Swedish participation in France's ambitious Future Air Combat System (SCAF) program and other joint defense projects like combat drones.

These talks highlight a shared vision between France and Sweden on defense strategies and industrial cooperation in Europe, reflecting the aligned interests of both nations in enhancing their military power through innovative technologies and partnerships. This significant upgrade to France's surveillance capabilities and the expansion of Franco-Swedish defense cooperation are expected to play central roles in shaping European defense strategies, illustrating the commitment of both countries to leading technological advancement and strategic independence in the defense sector.

The Saab GlobalEye is a sophisticated multi-role airborne surveillance system introduced at the Singapore Airshow in 2016. Built on the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft, the GlobalEye offers a wide range of surveillance capabilities including air, maritime, and ground monitoring. It's especially known for its advanced radar system, the Erieye ER (Extended Range), which is an S-band AESA radar that provides long-range detection capabilities in complex environments​.

The GlobalEye can perform multiple roles simultaneously and switch between these roles at any point during a mission, making it highly versatile. It was first ordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2015 with a contract worth $1.27 billion to provide a new generation of airborne swing-role surveillance systems. The aircraft is capable of operating from short runways, offers low noise levels, and features ergonomic seating for operators, highlighting its design for long-duration missions and operator comfort.

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