Swedish defense company Saab recently announced the sale of Saab 2000 Erieye aircraft under a 165 million deal. According to defense sources, the buyer of these planes is probably Pakistan.

A statement issued on the deal did not name the number of aircraft or the country of purchase. According to a company spokesman, the delivery of these aircraft will be completed between 2020 and 2023. According to defense sources, the buyer of these planes is probably Pakistan.

Various models of the Saab system have so far been sold to eight countries, including Sweden, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.The Pakistan Air Force has six and the Royal Saudi Air Force has two Saab aircraft.

Saab 2000 is a multi-mission radar system equipped with ARI and other advanced sensors that is installed on Saab 2000 aircraft. The radar features Active Electronic Scan Array (AESA) technology that can be used for surveillance of air and sea borders as well as search and rescue missions and civilian needs.

During the Pak-India tensions that erupted after the Indian attack on Balakot in February 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down an Indian Mig21 aircraft in Pakistani territory with the help of this IRI radar. After this incident, India had also protested at the diplomatic level against the sale of this radar system to Pakistan.

Pakistan first acquired four ERI aircraft from the Saab Group in 2009. The terrorist attack on Minhas Air Base in Karachi in 2012 damaged three of the four planes, one of which was completely destroyed, while the other two planes were repaired locally at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra.

In 2017, Pakistan agreed to purchase three more new Saab 2000 ERI aircraft. All three aircraft were acquired between 2017 and 2019. According to the Swedish Arms Export Control Agency, Sweden had sold radar systems to Pakistan in 2019 for US 152 million. The annual report of the Directorate General of Defense Purchases, a subsidiary of the Pakistani Ministry of Defense Production, stated in 2017-18 that the sixth ERI aircraft was purchased for 94.95 million. The last aircraft was handed over to the Pakistan Air Force in April 2019.   

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