Two Bombardier Challenger 650 business jets are being converted to an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and targeting) configuration by a newly-formed company in the UAE. They will join the UAE Air Force, as will two Bombardier Global 6000s that have been undergoing a protracted conversion in the UK. The UAE AF has also ordered three Global 6000s via Saab, which is providing them as GlobalEye multi-surveillance jets capable of monitoring airborne, maritime and ground-based activity.
The new company is Aquila Aerospace, which was formed early this year with majority Emirati ownership plus foreign interests and first unveiled the project at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi. It is based at Al Bateen airbase in Abu Dhabi, where it will shortly take delivery of the first “green” Challenger 650 airframe. It will be converted to carry an imaging synthetic aperture radar sensor, including moving target indicator (MTI) and inverse search and rescue (ISAR)