One of the key aircraft employed by the Pakistan Air Force in the aftermath of India's air strike at Balakot was the Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, supplied by Sweden's Saab.
In late March, the Economic Times reported India had lodged a diplomatic protest with Sweden over the Pakistan Air Force “extensively” using the Erieye “in the February 27 aerial battle to direct and control 25 fighter jets towards Indian targets”. On Wednesday, Jane's Defence Weekly, a reputed defence publication, reported “Saab delivered three sets of radar equipment to Pakistan Air Force Base Nur Khan (Chaklala) on April 9”.
Jane's Defence Weekly noted “it is possible that the Swedish company delivered three Erieye systems” for installation on Saab 2000 aircraft that had been delivered in 2018. The report in Jane's Defence Weekly is based on information published by the Pakistan Import Export Trade Database.
Pakistan signed its first contract for the Erieye system in 2005, ordering four aircraft. In August 2012, one Erieye aircraft was destroyed and two were damaged when militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan attacked the Minhas Airbase in Kamra, where the platforms were based. Pakistan was reportedly able to repair the two damaged Erieye platforms.
In 2017, the Pakistan Air Force ordered three additional Erieye systems from Saab.
According to Saab, the Erieye is capable of roles such as air and sea surveillance, intelligence gathering and command and control functions. The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system of the Erieye can detect targets up to 450km away. The Erieye is considered an export success, with Saab describing it as “one of the most widely used AEW&C systems in the world”. Sweden, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates have been identified as Erieye users.
In addition to the Erieye, the Pakistan Air Force also uses a Chinese-built airborne early warning system.