Saab say it has successfully completed the first air trials with its new fighter X-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which will be offered as a new addition to Saab’s PS-05/A radar family.

“Saab continues to develop core AESA technology and has now successfully completed the first air trials with the new X-band AESA radar. The trials were flown successfully, collecting data while detecting and tracking objects. The radar is designed for fighter aircraft and can be adapted to a variety of platforms. As Saab previously announced, a version of the new AESA antenna has been sold to a U.S. Government customer.”

“This is an important step in the development of our new fighter AESA radar. We see great possibilities for the radar, and its modular, adaptable and scalable design means it can also be used for a range of other applications”, says Anders Carp, SVP and head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.

The host aircraft during the air trial was a Gripen D aircraft, which is currently offered with Saab’s latest Mk4 radar.

The new version of the radar can be offered to Gripen C/D operators, as an upgrade.

“The new AESA radar features GaN, a material that gives lower power consumption and improved heat resistance. This enables wider bandwidth and greater reliability, availability and efficiency. The new fighter X-band AESA radar will, for example, have better performance against small targets, enhanced Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) capability as well as improved ability to support more advanced weaponry.”

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Nigel Collins

On a side note,

“Germany Seeks AESA Radar for Tranche 2-3 Eurofighters, Plus Additional Aircraft
November 8, 2019”

Barry Larking

Typhoon has been the victim of our ‘partners’. ‘ Despite these decisions, the program remained muddled. The West Germans raised a number of major objections, for example proposing that the new fighter use an improved version of the AN/APG-65 radar used on the US F/A-18 Hornet instead of a European solution; and suggesting, for reasons nobody else could understand, that early development aircraft use General Electric F404 engines instead of the TurboUnion RB.199. The manufacturers involved with the program didn’t begin “cutting metal” for the initial prototypes until 1989.’ [1] Ferranti in Edinburgh had worked on an AESA radar but… Read more »

Nigel Collins

And with thrust vectoring, EFEM and the EJ230 engines, I wonder what their comments would be? 🤣

Barry Larking

Norton blocking me. ‘Highly Dangerous web page!’

Thanks Nigel. I’ll make separate searches for these upgrades. (And still those twits in Whitehall believe in Euro collaborations. I can’t think of one that went well particularly the claims of cost effectiveness!)

Nigel Collins



The Airbus aero package is a relatively simple modification as there’s very little “metal bashing” and cutting required to add the Flap, modified strake and LERX. The cost comes from updating and testing the flight control software to expand the envelope. For the UK, the next priority is upgrading the radar and the defensive aid system.


Or getting the current DAS to actually work.


I’m wondering if Saab are offering this as a cheaper alternative to Leonardo’s (Selex) Raven radar for the earlier model Gripens. The A to D series have a smaller diameter nose than the E/F so the Raven probably wouldn’t fit. But the Saab AESA would be quite an upgrade from the earlier PS-05/A pulse doppler radar which was a development of the Sea Harriers Blue Vixen. This radar uses most of the back end of the PS-05/A adding a new AESA panel. As you see from the above picture it is a fixed array unlike the Raven, so has a… Read more »

Andrew Deacon

This technology would also be a cheaper upgrade option for tranche 1 and 2 typhoons. Tranche 2 typhoons would require cooling while tranche 1 would also require structural strengthening of the nose cone to fit a traditional aesa.
This GaN technology would just be a straight replacement, though ideally it would be scaled up for typhoon.
I believe they considered GaN for captor e but rejected it due to the technology not being mature and to risky . Also although the cooling and power benefits have been widely publicised little has been said of the performance vs current aesa technology.


The first iteration of Captor-E was basically a Captor-M with the AESA panel bolted on. The Captor-M had a lot of issues with overheating and it was only really solved about 7 years ago. The problem was the required specification. One of which was that it it had to have a better range that the F3’s Foxhunter. The Foxhunter was a beast of a radar when it was working, but it was not a true multi-mode system like the Captor. By incorporating both long range search, track whilst scan with ground mapping and targeting calls for different protocols when transmitting,… Read more »

Andrew Deacon

I wasn’t aware they had cooling issues with captor m , but as I understand it the existing captor e needs considerably more cooling than the m hence the tranche 3 typhoons were fitted with the piping necessary for the upgraded cooling system. While the Saab GaN based radar (or indeed the updated captor e if it uses GaN) should be ok with the older cooling system on the T1and T2’s.


The SAAB GaN radar is a smaller Captor….

the PS-05 is a smaller Captor-M. There isn’t a new SAAB radar…they have developed a new antenna…

We should steer well clear of SAAB for any GaN for CAPTOR-E. The UK needs to have a large scale GaN foundry for its own needs and not rely on other nations.


Selex which is part of Leonardo build the Captor-M and E and Raven radars. The Raven is the first to be sold and comes with Galium Nitride transmitter/receiver modules (apparently the first aircraft production radar to have them) The Raven is a scaled down version of Captor-E, so the assumption is it will also have GaN TR modules. The antenna for the Raven and Captor-E radar are made by Hensoldt, which is part of the four partner Nation Euroradar group.