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Poland signs for Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft

Poland is set to acquire two Saab 340 AEW&C aircraft from Sweden, with a contract now signed. (Saab)

Poland has signed a contract for Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to protect its national airspace.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence of Poland, Mariusz Błaszczak, made the disclosure on 25 July, two months after announcing on 22 May that his country's government was in the advanced stages of negotiations with Sweden to acquire such a capability.

“Today, the [Polish] Armaments Agency signed a contract for the supply of Swedish Saab 340 early warning aircraft. As a result, the eastern flank [of] NATO will be strengthened and Polish airspace becomes safer,” Błaszczak said.

While Błaszczak did not disclose aircraft numbers or a delivery timeline, Saab is expected to provide two recently retired airframes from the United Arab Emirates that are now stored in Sweden (Saab had not commented on the minister's announcement at the time of publication). A Polish Air Force briefing slide shown at the IDET 2023 defence exhibition in Brno, Czech Republic, on 25 May showed a timeline to acquire two Saab 340 Erieye aircraft, with deliveries to take place by early 2024.

Poland does not currently field an airborne AEW&C capability, relying instead on the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF) and the Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft of the E-3A Component. The US Air Force also provides E-3 AWACS coverage over Eastern Europe, with France, Greece, Italy, and Turkey all flying AEW&C types of their own over the continent. Australia also recently announced the deployment of a single Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft to Europe.

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