Thailand to Upgrade Saab 340 AEW and Saab 340 SIGINT


The Air Force currently operates seven aircraft in its 702 Squadron Wing 7, which are the same Saab 340 with different functions and equipment which can be categorized as.

The Saab 340 AEW, equipped with Erieye radar system, is Thailand's first pre-alert aircraft. Both Saab 340 (numbers 70201 and 70203) are second-hand aircraft coded FSR-890 from the Swedish Air Force, which are supplied with supply twelve Gripen fighters some 10 years ago, making the 702 fleet one of only two fleets in ASEAN with the capability to use Airborne Early Warning or control and alert aircraft. The other is the Singapore Air Force 111 squadron, which operates four G550 CAEW or Conformal Airborne Early Warning.

The Saab 340 AEW is the only pre-alert aircraft to operate within the Air Force's air defense network. It serves as a floating radar to complement the ground radar system and connect data to the Air Force Air Defense Network at the ground station for control and command. Therefore there is no ability to control and command by itself or to put it simply, there is no C after the AEW word AEW&C.

The Royal Thai Air Force has a project to upgrade Saab 340 AEW to AEW&C standard in FY2021 with a budget of approximately 4,500 million baht, including :

1. Modified the capability of the Saab 340 AEW to the SAAB 340 AEW&C and supporting pilot training, operator and maintenance staff domestic or international.

2. This gives the aircraft the ability to analyze, alert and monitor both air and sea at the near Real Time level, as well as transmit tactical information via the Network to Command and Control units and Operating Unit. The ability to send tactical information to an operational unit, or in other words, to send information directly to the fighter without going through a ground control center, that's the key factor that sets AEW apart from AEW&C.

3.Technology transfer of the Airborne Early Warning Radar and Airborne C2 systems, as well as training studies to enable aircraft maintenance on a self-reliance basis.

4.Obtained the right to develop a tactical linkage system with Air Force aircraft. That should mean that the Air Force wants to mount the Link-T on the Air Force-developed Saab 340 AEW&C on board. Or even license the Air Force to install the Link-16 in the future if needed.In addition to the Saab 340 AEW, the Air Force has five other Saab 340s, which are general transports for use in the training and transport of personnel. Saab 340 numbers 70204, 70205, and 70206 as Signal Intelligence aircraft (SIGINT or Signal Intelligent). Saab 340 numbers 70202 and 70207, which is equipped with a signal intelligence device capable of both Communications Intelligence (COMINT), ie wiretapping from the communication network of enemy Electronic Intelligence (ELINT). Intelligence obtained by intercepting other electronic signals that are not used in enemy communications, such as radar signals, weapon navigation systems to be used for electronic warfare equipment such as RWRs or jammer devices, as well as for designing Electronic Attack techniques (EA).

Both aircrafts are designed and installed on the Saab 340 as well, but information about the systems and capabilities of the two Saab 340 SIGINTs are not yet available, but one is expected. It will be an installation of IAI Israel's ELL-8385 Electronic Intelligence System, an Integrated Electronic Support Measures and Electronic Intelligence System designed for high electronic signaling environments and designed for remote electronic intelligence missions. The system is able to search, intercept, analyze, identify, classify and track radar systems for both land, air and sea to generate news reports and provide tactical and strategic news information to be used in defense design. Have In terms of the intelligence signal to consider antennas already installed on the aircraft body, expected to install the system Intelligence signs of Rohde & Schwarz, which is used to locate the direction (Direction Finding) of the signal, track and locate. Including wiretapping of the enemy communication network.

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