The Saab 2000 Erieye (Image © Saab AB)

“Swedish-Saudi defence deal cancelled” – No more Saab AEW planes

A large number of Swedish media report on 10 March 2015 that the government in Stockholm is cancelling the 10-year old defence cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Once confirmed by the government – something it is said to do soon – it will definitely mean that there will be no second (or third) SAAB E-2000 (Saab 2000 Erieye) Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft heading towards the Kingdom.

Diplomatic relations between the largest Scandinavian country and the leading Arab nation when it comes to purchasing Western made aircraft reached a freezing point this week, after Saudi Arabia prevented Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström to deliver her planned speech to the League of Arab States. Mrs. Wallström earlier called a series of legal but physically punishments of a Saudi blogger “almost medieval methods”, causing anger in Riyadh.

A future of the SAAB E-2000 in Royal Saudi Air Force service already looked quite grim, as reported on 20 February of this year.

Apart from the SAAB AEW&C aircraft Swedish arms companies have been selling other stuff as well. The Kingdom showed, however, never serious interest in the SAAB Gripen fighter jet, having chosen a mix of US-made F-15C Eagles plus F-15E Strike Eagles and British-made Eurofighter Typhoons and Tornado IDS jets instead.

The only possible scenario with Saab aviation technology will flow to Saudi Arabia in the future might be through Boeing. If the American manufacturer manages to get a possible export order for its T-X advanced jet trainer it is developing with SAAB for the US Air Force. But that plane is still so far from reality – and might never leave the drawing board – that any such export deal is still very much speculation alone.

© 2015 editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): The Saab 2000 Erieye (Image © Saab AB)

A Royal Saudi Air Force E-3 Sentry taking off (Image © Boeing)
Apart from a single SAAB E-2000, the Royal Saudi Air Force relies on the Boeing E-3 Sentry for its AWACS needs (Image © Boeing)