How GlobalEye can stop drug smugglers

Saab’s new airborne surveillance system GlobalEye can be put to use in a number of different ways within a society. It can be used in case of a natural disaster, a terror attack or, as this example illustrates, to discover and interrupt drug smugglers making their way into a country.

It’s just before midnight. A small Cessna aircraft flies in slowly across the water. The plane’s transponder is switched off and since the Cessna is flying at a low altitude it is difficult for a ground-based radar to spot it. GlobalEye, which is positioned very far away from the area, discovers the aircraft and follows its movements because of its suspicious behavior. The transponder is off, it is flying at a low altitude and it is making turns frequently rather than holding a straight course.  It seems likely that something suspicious is about to happen and GlobalEye, which is flying at an altitude of 10 000 meters, continues to follow the Cessna for several hours. The crew is also in contact with the authorities responsible for the sea and land in the area, keeping them informed of what is happening. Suddenly the plane makes a sharp turn to the right and flies off out to sea. Once it’s out above open water the plane dumps what appears to be suspect goods. Out at sea GlobalEye has already discovered a small boat, which is waiting, rolling on the waves. The crew onboard the boat picks up the packages while the plane turns back the way it came. The mission crew continues to follow the plane but perform maritime surveillance in order to follow the suspected goods on the journey across the sea.

At high speed, the boat makes its way towards a desolate stretch of the coastline. A pick-up truck waits to pick up the goods. GlobalEye continues to track the plane and the boat while the operators activate the land surveillance mode and can continue tracking the pick-up on the ground, keeping contact with the police until they are able to take over, stop the smugglers and capture the packages. It turns out to be a record-breaking capture; the packages contain more than 350 kilograms of heroin.

GlobalEye’s unique swing role capability makes it the only airborne surveillance solution that can carry out air, maritime and land surveillance simultaneously. The surveillance system consists of Saab’s Erieye ER (extended range) radar installed on the aircraft Global 6000 from Bombardier. This is an aircraft with very long endurance which means it can stay in the air for more than eleven hours, providing air, sea and ground surveillance. It is a great advantage to be positioned at very high altitudes when undertaking surveillance at low altitudes.  When the surveillance takes place from the ground, the curvature of the earth makes it is difficult to discover targets flying at low altitudes from a distance.

Erieye ER’s radar range is now increased by 70 per cent compared to previous generation, which means that it is able to discover smaller targets at much longer distances than before.


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