Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UAE Ink Deal to purchase PC-21 Aircraft and Saab 340 Erieye

The United Arab Emirates has signed a deal with Pilatus to supply the PC-21 turboprop aircraft to meet its basic trainer requirements.The Swiss company landed a 520 million Swiss franc ($515 million) contract to supply 25 aircraft to the air force here.

In a second contract award announced Nov. 17, the UAE said it had purchased two Saab 340 early-warning aircraft in a deal valued at 148.3 million euro ($220 million).There is no news yet on the progress of contract talks with trainer maker Alenia Aermacchi after selection of the M346 jet in February.

When making the announcement, Maj. Gen. Faris Al Mazrouei, the chief of the UAE army's logistics staff, would only say that contract talks were ongoing with Alenia. The M346 was selected in a competition with the Korean Aerospace T-50 to take on advanced training and light-attack roles.

The Swiss PC-21 beat out another Alenia Aermacchi product, the S311, to meet the basic-trainer requirement.Plans call for the first aircraft to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 and for the entire 25 aircraft order completed by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Al Mazrouei said purchase of the Saab Erieye aircraft was an interim solution ahead of making a decision on a long-running competition between the Swedish company and rivals Northrop Grumman and Boeing for an AEW capability.

The Saab 340 Erieyes were previously operated by the Swedish air force. The aircraft will be modified and updated, with the first machine delivered during the third quarter of 2010 and the second about the first quarter of 2011. Al Mazrouei said the aircraft will be used to train the UAE military in airborne early warning and command and control capabilities.

He said the UAE wasn't ready to make a decision on the long-term airborne early-warning solution.The Boeing 737-based Wedgetail offering suffered technical difficulties, and the Northrop Grumman Hawkeye E -2D was not yet in service with the U.S. Navy, he said, explaining the decision not to commit to the program yet.Al Mazrouei said the UAE would also continue to consider the Saab 2000 Erieye solution in the competition.


Saab 340 Erieyes - very interesting.

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