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Poland Takes Delivery of Its First Saab 340 AEW

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Image credit: Polish Armament Agency/X

The first of two Saab 340 AEW platforms procured last year has been delivered.

As announced by the Armament Agency of the Polish Ministry of Defense (Polish MoD’s procurement body) on social media last week, the first of two second-hand Saab 340 Erieye AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft procured in in July last year, was delivered on Mar. 6, 2024.

The contract with Saab is valued at SEK 600 million (52 million Euro). It includes ground equipment, in-country logistics, and support services. The 340 uses the Erieye AEW/AEW&C system with AESA radar. Procuring these was done as a response to an urgent operational requirement.

The aircraft sports Polish Air Force markings, but it will be operated by the Navy with mixed aircrews.

This is an important acquisition that would rapidly boost Poland’s ability to create situational awareness. As war in Ukraine is going on beyond Poland’s eastern border right now, the AEW platforms will act as a valuable asset in any air policing effort. There were some incidents already, with Russian and Ukrainian missiles as well as Belarusian aircraft intruding the Polish airspace lately, and having a very capable AEW platform will certainly help in handling the unforeseen incidents and circumstances.

More interestingly, Poland is also procuring aerostats within that domain: a month ago the U.S. State Department has given the go-ahead for Poland to purchase Airspace and Surface Radar Reconnaissance (ASRR) Aerostat systems and related equipment in a deal worth $1.2bn (4.8bn zlotys).

Let us recall that many analysts point to the lack of air-to-air refuelling capability to be another gap in the Polish Air Force’s potential. This could have been addressed, if Poland had not resigned from its participation in the European shared MRF (Multination MRTT fleet), that matter. The second matter frequently brought up is the gap regarding the AEW platforms – now addressed by the acquisition of the Saab AEW and aerostats. That gap could be filled partially by the F-35s and their sensor suite. However, given what is happening beyond its eastern border, Poland urgently needs specialized platforms, with a greater loiter time.

Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.

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