Air Force

Poland Procures Early Warning Aircraft from Sweden

saab 340AEW-300
The latest variant of the Swedish Saab 340AEW - the S100D Argus.
Photo. forsvarsmakten

The Armament Agency signed an agreement on the procurement of second-hand Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft. The acquisition was announced by Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the Polish Ministry of Defence.

The information on the Polish intent to procure two, second-hand AEW platforms emerged in the spring of this year, briefly after a scandal that broke out once remains of a Russian cruise missile were found in Bydgoszcz. During this year's Defence24 DAY conference it has been confirmed that those will be Saab 340.

Saab 340 AEW&C platforms were manufactured for the Swedish Air Force (Svenska flygvapnet) in the late 1990s. In June 2022 Stockholm replaced them with Saab Global Eyes - at a 1:1 ratio. That means that soon, the Swedes will have two "redundant" aircraft of this class at their disposal. This is a major opportunity for Poland, as the aircraft are readily available and can be commissioned quickly. Considering the cooperation, also with Sweden joining NATO, the price may be expected to be attractive.

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The release issued by Saab defines the contract value as ca. PLN 232 million, with the implementation term set in 2023-2025. The contract signed with the manufacturer also includes the provision of local logistical/technical support for the aircraft.

There is a possibility that those aircraft may come from the UAE's decommissioned inventory. The UAE air force procured two Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft in 2009, commissioning them two years later, and decommissioning them in 2020, when UAE received the first Saab GlobalEyes, acting as the replacement platform.

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The delivery of Saab 340s would be a reinforcement for the Air Force, in the short term at least. Even the legacy Saab 340 AEW would provide the air force with the ability to detect low-flying threats, such as cruise missiles, at several hundred kilometers, instead of 50 kilometers range associated with ground-based radars (threat flying at an altitude of 300 feet, in good conditions). Because Poland has no aircraft as such whatsoever, this is a major leap forward, in the domain of controlling and securing the Polish airspace.

Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft are currently operated by Thailand, and previous operators include Greece, of United Arab Emirates, mentioned above. Similar systems, based on Saab 2000, are operated by Pakistan (7), and Saudi Arabia (2).

Apart from the AEW&C platform, the Polish Air Force has no reconnaissance aircraft, MPA, or tankers.