Sweden's reputation for ingenuity was highlighted at the show on Tuesday evening, when Saab officials delivered a press briefing about the company's special mission aircraft programmes from several thousand feet above Paris.

Delivered over the intercom aboard a Saab 2000, the update detailed the company's ongoing drive to expand the type's utility from the airborne early warning and control mission to include maritime patrol and signals intelligence (SIGINT) duties.

Saab has already secured two AEW&C sales with the 2000: to the Pakistan air force and an undisclosed buyer, believed to be Saudi Arabia. Its continued development work on the Saab Microwave Systems Erieye radar-equipped aircraft includes the long-range detection of small naval targets out to a range of 200km (108nm), said Erik Winberg, senior director of business development for electronic defence systems.

The company is still seeking a launch customer for a proposed SIGINT version of the 2000 dubbed the Air Tracer, with a roll-on, roll-off version of its mission system also suitable for use with military transport aircraft.

Also on offer is a Saab 340 maritime security aircraft for coastguard applications. Its configuration is derived largely from a search and rescue variant already in use in Japan.

"This business is an important part of Saab," said Joakim Mevius, the company's head of special mission aircraft programmes, and acting head of its commercial activities around the 340 and 2000 fleets.

Currently being used by 76 operators in 38 countries, the types have a current dispatch reliability rate of 99%, he said. "We are seeing high demand for those aircraft available for sale or lease," Mevius added.

Source: Flight Daily News