UAE buys advanced 'eye in the sky' planes and mid-air refuellers from Saab

GlobalEye can detect enemy ballistic missiles

Mid-air refuelling allows fighter jets and larger aircraft to fly almost continuously. This photo provided by the French military in 2014 shows a pilot navigating his Rafale fighter jet for a mid-air refuelling en route to Iraq. EPA

The UAE Armed Forces agreed to buy two of the most advanced early detection planes in the world.

GlobalEye, an early warning and control aircraft from Swedish aerospace company Saab, is capable of detecting ballistic missiles.

Saab, which also makes the Gripen fighter jet, installs the radar system on a modified Bombardier business plane and presents it as a whole package to buyers.

The deal brings the total number of GlobalEye aircraft in the UAE's fleet to five.

GlobalEye airborne early warning and control aircraft. Courtesy Saab Group

A few years ago, the UAE was the launch customer for the system, which can detect land, sea and air targets.

The purchase was announced on Tuesday by Maj Gen Ishaq Al Blooshi, deputy executive director of the military committee of the Dubai Airshow, the state news agency Wam reported.

Gen Al Blooshi said the UAE was also buying three Airbus A330 aerial refuelling jets.

The Dubai Airshow is a biennial event where defence and aerospace companies present the latest in drones, missiles and stealth technology.

The UAE Armed Forces has invested in some of the most advanced equipment in the world.

Fighter jets such as the F-16 Block 60, flown by Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri, are the spearhead of the UAE Air Force.