The Ukrainian Air Force will receive two Saab 340 AEWCS aircraft in the ASC 890 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system configuration from Sweden, providing Kyiv with “absolutely new potential for radar reconnaissance and combat control against targets in the air and at sea,” according to the local publication Sydsvenskan.

The aircraft will be delivered as part of Sweden’s largest military aid package to date, worth more than SEK 13 billion ($1.3 billion). This military aid package is the 16th from Sweden since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The transferred aircraft will significantly enhance Kyiv’s long-term capability to strike targets. The package includes training and technical equipment for the aircraft.

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Equipped with advanced radar systems, these planes can detect and track objects over a large volume of the battlespace, including fighters, bombers, attack aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and naval targets. The Saab 340 AWACS (or ASC 890) is a long-range radar surveillance aircraft with a fixed radar that monitors 120 degrees on each side.

The ASC 890 usually flies at altitudes of 6-7 km and detects airborne and seaborne vehicles (planes, ships, missiles) at distances of 300-400 km. The aircraft has a length of 20 meters, a wingspan of 21 meters, and a flight endurance of up to 5 hours.

The Militarnyi publication suggests that these aircraft may not be used directly over Ukrainian territory due to the threat of destruction, but they can operate in the airspace of neighboring countries.

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According to Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonsson, the ASC 890 will have “the biggest impact on Ukrainian air defenses” so far, complementing and reinforcing the promised donation of US-made F-16 fighters. Each aircraft is estimated to cost up to $30 million.

Sweden’s Ministry of Defense stated that the transfer would impact the country’s defense capabilities, which will be addressed through the acquisition of a new Global Eye radar reconnaissance and control aircraft.

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As part of the aid package, Sweden will transfer its entire fleet of Pansarbandvagn 302 (Pbv 302) tracked armored personnel carriers to create new Ukrainian Ground Forces brigades.

The package also includes Rb 99 missiles, artillery ammunition, and resources for the maintenance of previously transferred equipment. Notably, the Rb 99 (AMRAAM) missiles can be used both on aircraft and in ground-based air defense systems. The Rb 99 is a licensed version of the American AIM-120B missile (AMRAAM) with a nominal launch range of 70 kilometers.

Including the funds announced today, Sweden has provided SEK 43.5 billion ($4.1 billion) in support to Ukraine.

The first Ukrainian pilots in the US-made F-16 fighter aircraft have recently completed initial basic training in the Southwestern US and will soon be receiving further training in Europe, likely either in Romania or Denmark. Maintenance personnel and other ground crew have reportedly also been trained on the F-16s and will arrive in Ukraine to give training to others who did not attend the training outside Ukraine.

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US Air Force and Air National Guard spokesperson Erin Hannigan told Politico that the first batch of Ukrainian F-16 pilots has graduated from the 162nd Wing at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona and will now move on to advanced training in Europe.

The Ukrainian Air Force will receive more than 60 F-16s from Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These countries, along with the US, Britain, Romania, France, and Bulgaria, have mobilized staff, aircraft, and ground facilities to train the Ukrainians to fly and maintain the fighters.

Belgium has committed to delivering 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by 2028 to aid in the battle against Russia’s invasion. The pledge was announced at the start of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Belgium on Tuesday.

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