Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Weapon of Ukrainian victory: Saab ASC 890 early warning and control aircraft

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May30,2024

Weapons of Ukrainian victory: Saab ASC 890 early warning and control aircraft

Recently it became known that as part of the military aid package, Sweden will transfer to Ukraine the Saab ASC 890 early warning and control aircraft (Saab 340 AEW&amp ;C).

In this regard, the Swedish government said that such an aircraft should help Ukraine strengthen its air defense: “Sweden is handing over the ASC 890 radar reconnaissance and control aircraft to Ukraine, thereby strengthening Ukraine's air defense capabilities.”

For Ukraine, the acquisition of ASC 890 will mean completely new opportunities for aerial radar reconnaissance and combat control of targets in the air and at sea. Ukraine's capabilities to detect and combat targets at significant distances will also increase, because the equipment and technology of this aircraft is able to distinguish objects and ships better than traditional radar.

Probably, the direct use of these aircraft over the territory of Ukraine will not be due to the threat of damage, but they will be able to fly in the airspace of bordering countries.

Let's get to know the Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) early warning and control aircraft in more detail.

< h2>History of the Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C)

Saab 340 AEW&C — airborne early warning and control aircraft developed by the Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab. It is mainly used by the Swedish Air Force and the Royal Thai Air Force. But very recently, Poland ordered two such planes, and now Ukraine will receive one.

The Saab 340 AEW&C was created with the idea of ​​having a Swedish modified counterpart and an alternative to the more expensive Boeing E-3 AWACS. The Swedish Air Force previously worked with the Saab 340B for VIP personnel transport. Therefore, it was this aircraft that was to become the base for the new air defense radar. By the mid-1990s, the first aircraft entered service with the Swedish Air Force. A total of six aircraft were ordered: four with radar already installed and two without radar, prepared to install radar as needed, which could be used as VIP transport in peacetime. By the way, Saab claims that if necessary, the radar can be installed in 24 hours.

As mentioned above, the Saab 340B AEW&C is based on the Saab 340B commercial airliner, which is a reliable platform for such purposes, given its design features, avionics and performance. The development of this liner began in the 70s, when a new power plant was chosen, which was more economical than the jet power plant of the time. The aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis reportedly forced the company to opt for a turboprop propulsion system for cost/efficiency reasons.

The US Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 provided further impetus for the development of the basic model. This aircraft was designed and built jointly with Fairchild Aircraft, mainly because Saab believed that its own production capacity would not be sufficient. As a result, from 1980 to 1987, Fairchild was tasked with making the wings, tail fins, and engine nacelles. Saab, in turn, was commissioned to manufacture the main airframe, covering 75% of the development and system integration and certification costs. The first Saab 340 took flight in 1983 and the first aircraft to serve the airline in 1984. After Fairchild ceased operations, Saab began producing the Saab 340 independently.

Currently, only six units of the Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) remain in service with the Swedish Air Force. And of them, 4 units are equipped with radar equipment, and two boards serve as VIP transport, and are ready to install radars if necessary.

Production of the Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) was completed in 1999. 12 units of early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft are known to have been built: 6 for Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force), 2 for the Royal Thai Air Force and 2 for the Pakistan Air Force, with another 2 in use by the United Arab Emirates Air Force. 2 modified aircraft were delivered to the Hellenic Air Force from 2000 to 2003, and Greece separately received two Embraer RJ-145 AEW&C aircraft equipped with the same Ericsson Erieye radars. That is, both Poland and Ukraine will receive used aircraft.

Design features of the Saab ASC 890

The Saab 340B AEW&C design is based on the Saab 340B commercial airliner. So the aircraft is basically the same, except that it has a built-in radar mounted on the fuselage and other electronic equipment that is mounted inside. The plane has a dihedral wing design. This means that they are located at the base and at an upward angle. The Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) received two turboprop engines and a body made entirely of aluminum. It is interesting that the design uses the same solutions that can be found in other Saab military fighters. It is about the use of connections instead of rivets, which reduced the overall weight of the aircraft. It also has wider horizontal stabilizers, a vibration control system in the cabin to reduce engine noise, and more powerful engines (two General Electric CT7-9B turboprops with 1,870 hp each).

The wing and horizontal control surfaces, or stabilizers, are dihedral, with the angle of the former being greater than that of the main wings. Both wings and horizontal stabilizers have a trapezoidal shape. They are very thin, because they simply do not have such a large area. The engines are located in the quarter of the main wings, close to the cockpit. The main wings are located in the middle of the aircraft, while the fuselage itself has a tubular shape. Its nose has a shape that changes depending on the angle of view or perspective. It has a parabolic nose cone from above. The tip of the nose in the side view is tilted down, and the part from the location of the front landing gear to the tip is slightly tilted up. The central part has a cylindrical shape.

Tail — of the usual type with a configuration of the “double delta” type. The ventral fins are located directly below the horizontal control surfaces. And in the back of the plane there is an elongated fairing. The landing gear has a tricycle configuration, with the front landing gear located under the cockpit and the other two landing gear located under the engines.

The Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) aircraft is 19.73 m long, 6, 97 m and a wingspan of 21.44 m. Extended wing tips in several versions increase the wingspan to 22.75 m.

The aircraft is equipped with early warning systems and an advanced Erieye radar, which I suggest you familiarize yourself with in more detail.< /p>

Erieye AEW/AEW&C Radar

Saab's Erieye radar, known as Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASC) 890 in Sweden, is a comprehensive AEW&C system that provides a variety of capabilities for different missions, meeting both military and civilian requirements. Swedes still often call it “Eye of Odin”.

In fact, it is a multi-mode pulse-Doppler radar of the Ericsson Erieye PS-890 microwave system with an active electronically scanned array (AESA), which makes this board an excellent aircraft early warning and control, taking into account its capabilities.

Work on the radar began in 1985 after the Swedish Defense Material Administration tested a mock-up of a two-way phased-array antenna on the future platform. Saab's Erieye has 200 antenna-mounted solid-state modules at S-band and 3 GHz, with a "view" in each direction 120° and with a range of up to 300-400 km at an altitude of 6096 meters. It reaches a height of 20 km, but blind spots remain in the nose and tail area. This disadvantage is compensated by the fact that the radar – in particular with such a design – can provide improved detection and better tracking due to an electronically scanned beam. This allows you to scan other areas while focusing on one target.

The PS-890 Erieye can detect and track fighter jets, helicopters, cruise missiles and even very small targets at sea as it also has a sea surveillance mode. In addition, sectors that are considered important can be scanned in different modes at the same time. They are capable of operating in electronics-rich environments and as an all-weather device, and can distinguish between friend and foe with their IFF capabilities and devices.

Thus, the Erieye AEW/AEW&C can perform missions of air and sea surveillance, command and control, reconnaissance, control of own assets, surveillance and control of national borders, national assets and national economic zones, search and rescue, alert warning and aerial patrol. The system is compatible with airborne systems and NATO standards.

The Erieye PS-890 radar has other electronic functions such as adaptive wave generation, pulse-coded electronic frames, signal processing and target designator, scanning tracking device, modes of operation with a low and medium pulse repetition rate, display of radar cross section of the target, as well as air-to-air and sea surveillance modes.

Erieye radar provides coverage of 360° with optimal performance in azimuthal sectors of 150° on each side of the plane. The radar can detect fighters at a distance of 350 km in a dense enemy electronic warfare environment, in conditions of strong radar jamming, and also detect targets at low altitudes.

Cockpit and avionics

The main cabin is equipped with a set of multifunctional workstations for three operators – for radar, fighter control and performing functions related to ground operations. The cabin accommodates two pilots and the commander of the aircraft.

The aircraft has a secure package of voice communication and data transmission channels with HF and VHF/DMX. The V/UHF data transmission channel operates at a speed of 4800 bps.

The main avionics compartment is located immediately behind the cockpit. The avionics suite includes a military instrument landing system (TILS), a Rockwell Collins APS-85 automatic flight control system, a Lockheed flight data recorder and a Sundstrand ground approach warning system. The aircraft's navigation system includes an integrated system of inertial navigation and global positioning INS/GPS.

A few words about the Rockwell Collins APS-85 automatic flight control system. It is a fully digital autopilot and flight control system. It has a three-axis fail-safe system designed for use in high-performance jet and turboprop aircraft. The system's digital computer has two fully independent computing channels and four microprocessors that contribute to excellent flight accuracy, reliability, safety and operational flexibility.

The system consists of a dual-channel flight control computer, dual-mode control panels, panel of the autopilot and three servos and fasteners.

That is, the Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C) is a worthy alternative to the Boeing E-3 AWACS, which will help protect the Ukrainian skies.

Variants Saab ASC 890

  • Saab 340 AEW&C/S 100B Argus – PS-890/FSR-890 radar aircraft operated by the Royal Thai Air Force
  • Saab 340B AEW&C 200 – version equipped with IS-340 Erieye radar
  • Saab 340B AEW&C 300/S 100D Argus – aircraft equipped with upgraded radar PS-890/ASC-890

Technical characteristics of Saab ASC 890 (Saab 340 AEW&C)

  • Wingspan: 21, 44 m
  • Length: 19.73 m
  • Height: 6.97 m
  • Wing area: 41.81 m²
  • Engine: two General Electric CT7-9B turboprop engines with a capacity of 1870 hp. with Dowty Rotol (or Hamilton Standard) 14RF19 four-blade constant speed propeller
  • Climb speed: 10.2 m/s
  • Cruising speed: 528 km/h
  • Operating range: 1450 km
  • Maximum service ceiling: 7620 m
  • Crew: 6 people
  • Avionics: Ericsson Erieye radar (PS-890), Länk 16, HQII, IFF, secure voice.

This is really unique and very valuable help from Sweden. It was impossible to dream of such an early warning and control aircraft. It will help our Armed Forces to track air targets, missiles, UAVs and enemy movements.

Now in the conditions of tough battles with the occupiers, every high-precision projectile, every combat vehicle, every air defense system, every cruise missile, combat landing craft or we need an early warning and control aircraft, so we would like to sincerely thank our Western friends and partners for their help and support. The invaders have nowhere to escape from retribution. Glory to Ukraine! Death to enemies! Glory to the Armed Forces!

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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