Sweden’s early warning plane will be a boost for Ukraine’s air defenses and F-16 fighters

  • Sweden will send an ASC 890 aircraft to Ukraine in a $1.23 billion aid package.

  • The airborne early warning plane enhances Ukraine’s range against airborne and maritime targets.

  • Sweden will also includes tanks, artillery ammunition, and more in its aid package.

Sweden will be delivering an ASC 890 airborne early warning and control aircraft to Ukraine, stepping up its alert system and range, as part of its $1.23 billion aid package announced Wednesday.

Pål Jonson, Sweden’s minister of defense, said the aircraft will provide Ukraine “with a new capability against both airborne and maritime targets.”

With the contribution of the ASC 890, Jonson added that Ukraine’s “capability to identify targets at long range will be strengthened.”

The ASC 890 aircraft, also known as the Saab 340, is an Airborne Early Warning and Control airplane equipped with a large radar that looks like a fin mounted above its fuselage. It can scan for aerial threats out to 250 miles, giving Ukraine a capability similar to the A-50 AEW&C planes Russia has used to guide its air defenses and fighter aircraft.

The ASC 890 can operate alongside F-16 fighter jets, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, and other air defenses, acting as a “force multiplier” by spotting and relaying targets to armed aircraft or ground-based missile batteries.

The aircraft’s radar will also be able to detect drones and cruise missiles, according to Jonson.

Belgium made a commitment on Tuesday to send Ukraine 30 American F-16s over the next four years on the condition that they wouldn’t be flown over Russia. Other countries have pledged Ukraine a total of roughly 85 F-16 jets.

Sweden and other allies such as Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway have also promised to send Ukraine F-16 jets.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphasized that the contribution of F-16s will help fortify Ukraine’s position. Future missions to defend Ukraine’s air space or attack ships in the Black Sea may be guided by targeted data relayed from an ASC 890.

Ukraine is currently tasked with defending its lines as Russia has bombarded them with deep strikes.

Sweden also plans to provide Ukraine with armored personnel carriers, Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and artillery ammunition along with other resources as part of its largest aid package yet.

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