Espreso. Global

AWACS aircraft from Sweden may completely change game rules on battlefield. Serhiy Zgurets column

30 May, 2024 Thursday

On May 29, Sweden announced a historic 1 billion euro military aid package to Ukraine, including two SAAB-340 surveillance aircraft


Ukrainian defense forces strike at military airfield in temporarily occupied Luhansk

The day before yesterday, the Ukrainian Defense Forces launched an ATACMS missile attack on a military airfield in temporarily occupied Luhansk. Latest satellite imagery shows that it was an accurate strike on the location of the new Russian Nebo-M radar system. This is not a single radar, as it is now mostly described, but three units operating in different bands. These radars also have an integrated machine that ensures their interaction. This complex is quite expensive, mobile and powerful. Its cost is more than $100 million. The Nebo-M system can detect ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as stealth aircraft. The system is capable of detecting targets at a distance of over 600 km. The Russians have few such systems. Therefore, the destruction of the Nebo-M radar is very important, as it opens a corridor for strikes by Ukrainian Storm Shadow cruise missiles, ATACMS and aircraft.

Sweden announces the largest package of military aid to Ukraine

Amid these events, Ukrainian aerial reconnaissance capabilities are being strengthened. On May 29, the Swedish government announced a record-breaking package of military assistance to Ukraine worth more than 1 billion euros. This is a truly historic package because it includes things that have never been mentioned before. In particular, the transfer of two SAAB-340 airborne surveillance aircraft. These are AWACS aircraft that can detect airborne targets, cruise missiles, and conduct reconnaissance against the background of land and sea at a distance of more than 400 km. This data can be transmitted to command posts or to weapons. The aircraft can operate in enemy electronic warfare conditions. The Ukrainian military has been seeking this type of aircraft for a long time. Back in 2010, our company Defense Express participated in the analytical support of Saab, which offered such aircraft to Ukraine back then. Now we will finally receive these aircraft, which will significantly enhance Ukrainian air defense capabilities.

                                                                              Swedish Saab 340 aircraft (photo: Defense Express)

In addition to Saab-340 aircraft, the Swedish military aid package included PbV 302 armored personnel carriers. These armored personnel carriers are very similar in design to the American M113. However, this is a Swedish project. The number of such APCs in Sweden in 2018 was more than 181 units in service. More than 600 units were stored in storage facilities. In any case, a significant number of these armored personnel carriers will be transferred to Ukraine to strengthen the brigades that are currently being formed.

Saab-340 airborne surveillance aircraft from Sweden will enhance Ukraine's intelligence capabilities

Ihor Romanenko, CEO of the Close the Skies of Ukraine Charitable Foundation, explained that Saab-340 aircraft significantly enhance the reconnaissance and control capabilities. Accordingly, the potential for using various types of weapons increases. Thanks to these aircraft, Ukraine will be able to form a reconnaissance and strike complex that will work online. According to Romanenko, during reconnaissance, the aircraft detects targets and can immediately transmit information about them to the means of destruction. Romanenko also added that Ukraine has long been working on the creation of this type of aircraft, but we lacked the technology and finances for design and production. Romanenko also said that Saab-340 aircraft are adapted to different types of missiles. In particular, the German Taurus.

Ihor Romanenko also said that there would be no problems with the channels of information exchange from these aircraft. Even before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there were relevant channels through Turkey and Hungary. According to Romanenko, after the delivery of the Saab-340 aircraft, Ukraine will occupy a central position in informing European air defense about threats.

Ukraine needs F-16 to effectively counter Russian intelligence complex

Ihor Romanenko believes that the issue of granting permission to strike at Russian territory with American weapons should be resolved. Although there is no consensus on such a decision, discussions in the United States continue. Romanenko noted that Ukraine should receive a long-range system to neutralize threats from Russia near its borders. In particular, air defense systems to shoot down Russian planes that shell Ukrainian cities. This is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. According to Romanenko, there are threats to destroy the Ukrainian Defense Forces' air defense systems near the borders. The Russians have now organized a powerful reconnaissance system in the Kharkiv region, and if Patriot systems are redeployed to the Kharkiv region, they will hunt them down every day.

According to Ihor Romanenko, Ukraine needs aviation to effectively counter the Russian intelligence complex. In particular, F-16 aircraft would do an excellent job of countering Russian Orlan reconnaissance UAVs. These types of UAVs can also be countered with powerful electronic warfare systems. However, to scale the impact on Russia's intelligence capabilities, we need to increase the means.

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