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Unknown Country Buys All-Seeing Surveillance Plane

The Saab Group, a relative of the car company, sells its $670 million airborne surveillance system. But who’s the mystery buyer?

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Saab Group, a Swedish defense company (cousin to the more commonly known car manufacturer), recently received a large order for an airborne surveillance system. The buying country, which is unnamed, will be forking over 4.5 billion Swedish kronor ($670 million).

The mystery buyer is purchasing a Saab 2000 airplane outfitted with something called ERIEYE (pronounced “eerie eye”). The advantage of ERIEYE is that it’s “extremely resistant to jamming and works extremely well in dense electronic warfare environments,” according to Saab’s sleek animated video pitch, best catagorized as defense porn.

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Who might have bought the aircraft? Defense Update assumes the buyer is “one of the Gulf States”; Indeed, the United Arab Emirates ordered two smaller systems from Saab earlier this year. South Africa might also have made the purchase, says Defense Update. Brazil, Mexico, and Greece already have ERIEYE radar systems, albeit on different aircraft.

There are a lot of things you can do with a terrifying airplane equipped with nearly invincible, next-gen radar. The system is useful in rescue operations, border vigilance, counter-terrorism, the fight against organized crime. And it beats the hell out of OnStar.

 

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About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal

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