Saab expects to close the sale of its first 340 Maritime Security Aircraft to an undisclosed Asian customer in the coming months.

Chief executive Hakan Buskhe says the MSA programme has been progressing well, and while there has been strong interest it has yet to seal an order.

“There are many, many countries that have interest, so I hope for a deal rather soon,” he says during a briefing at Farnborough yesterday.

Tight defence budgets have made securing orders difficult, Buskhe adds, with the normally lengthy defence procurement process only adding to the issue.

“The need is great and I think many of our potential customers have appreciated the product, but at the same time the financial situations are rather hard," he says.

Based on the Saab 340 regional turboprop, the unarmed aircraft is designed as a low-cost maritime surveillance platform that boasts endurance of up to 9h. Standard equipment includes a maritime radar, forward-looking infrared sensors and a variety of voice and data links.

Source: Flight Daily News