The Pakistan Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, told AFM in late April that the air arm is set to receive three new Saab 2000 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The first will be delivered in December and the remaining pair will arrive next year.
They will boost the PAF’s AEW&C fleet, which is currently made up of three Erieyes serving 3 Squadron and four ZDK-03s with 4 Squadron.
Saab issued a press release on May 15 announcing that it had signed an AEW&C contract worth SEK 1.35bn (£120m), with deliveries being made from 2017 until 2020. It will not disclose the customer, as is its usual policy, but it is likely this is the same deal.
Two of the PAF’s existing Erieyes were seriously damaged in a terrorist attack on PAF Base Minhas in August 2012, but have now been returned to service. Both were rebuilt by PAF personnel at PAC Kamra with support from Saab – the last aircraft returned to service in 2016.
The PAF ordered four Erieyes in 2005, and these were delivered during 2009-11. Under Project Vision, initiated in 2000, the PAF has built up its own indigenous C4I system couple with surveillance systems and surface-to-air weapons. Information datalinked from both the ZDK-03 and Erieye is merged at the PAF’s Air Defence HQ at Chaklala, to provide the PAF with a single recognised air picture. Alan Warnes