Saab unveils maritime security version of the Saab 340
Aerospace Forum Sweden 2012: Saab has unveiled a modified version of one of its Model 340 commuter airliners as a demonstrator for the maritime security mission.
The company has turned the Saab 340 twin-engined airliner into a multi-mission aircraft fitted out with a surface-search radar and an EO/IR turret. With the equipment the aircraft has been designed to take on a variety of missions including maritime surveillance, fisheries protection, piracy prevention and SAR.
Joakim Mevius, head of special mission aircraft programmes at Saab, said he believed there was a market for between 50 and 100 aircraft over the next 10 to 15 years and said the entire system in its basic version had a price point of 'less than $20 million'.
In the aircraft's basic version, the 340 is equipped with a single operator station but the aircraft can be upgraded allowing more mission operators to work the sensors. In its basic configuration, the aircraft has an endurance of around six hours, but with auxiliary fuel tanks this could be increased to ten hours.
The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) already operates a pair of Saab 340s to support SAR missions in the Japanese waters. The company has used its experience on those JCG aircraft to develop this new version.
The first aircraft, converted from a 340B+ that had served with a North American airline and refurbished, will be used as a company demonstrator and should appear at the Farnborough Airshow in July. The demonstrator is equipped with a Telephonics 7500E surface search radar, and a FLIR Systems EO/IR turret, although the company points out that sensors from other OEMs could be integrated.
The Saab 340 is used by several air arms around the world as a transport aircraft but also as a platform for the Erieye airborne early warning radar system. The company also offers variants of its Saab 2000 airliner including the Swordfish maritime patroller, the Airtracer signals intelligence aircraft, and also to carry the Erieye system.
Source: By the Shephard News Team / Tony Osborne in Linkoping, Sweden - 01 June 2012
Photo: The Sweden maritime security Saab 340 (Photo by shephardmedia.com)