Saab is to integrate its Swordfish maritime patrol system on two new airframes, the Bombardier Q400 turboprop and Global 6000 business jet, extending the product from the legacy Saab 2000 platform.
The extension of the product line has been driven by the emergence of an increased maritime threat leading to a requirement for more capability and flexibility from the aircraft.
“This has resulted in Saab having a lot of discussions with our potential customers regarding future requirements in the field of maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare, which we have put in to develop our Swordfish MPA system,” says Joakim Mevius, head of airborne ISR at Saab.
In addition to Swordfish being offered on the new platforms, performance of the system’s command, control, communications and computer (C4) has also been enhanced.
“So we are offering a new C4 system along with the new platforms,” Mevius says. “The combination of superior sensors, composed such that it will provide the best overall capability, alongside the new C4 capability, is together drastically bringing down the decision-making time.
“Having that also enables it to do the same mission with fewer operators than in the past,” he says.
“We’re providing excellent working conditions with these platforms, maximising the persistence and these platforms also provide the flexibility to meet these customer needs.”
Mevius says that Saab and Bombardier have worked together previously on special mission variants, and a “high end strategic capability” will now be provided by combining the aircraft and system for an MPA.
“What we have learnt is that not all customers and countries need exactly the same – there are variations due to the types of threats, types of nations, operational areas, and also the build-up of operational doctrine that we need to consider,” he says. “That is the reason we – based on a careful selection process – are incorporating it in these platforms.”
In addition to the sensors integrated onto the aircraft - which can include radar, electro-optic, acoustic sensing, electronic intelligence and communications intelligence - Saab can also arm the MPA.
“Both [aircraft] can be equipped with armaments such as torpedoes - enough to resolve any operational requirement - plus it can carry search and rescue loads and other loads that may be required by the customer.”
Mevius says that MPA missions are characterised by their length, and the Global 6000 and Q400 boast endurances of around 8.5h and over 7.5h at 1,000nm (1,850km) and 200nm on station, respectively, the latter achieved with auxiliary fuel tanks.