Saab is promoting its 340MSA Maritime Patrol Aircraft solution here at the Paris show (Static D146)–it is available for around the cost of a King Air while offering greater capacity and mission flexibility, according to Saab. Using an airliner as a platform brings with it a level of reliability that is required for intensive use and, while the 340 airframes are second-hand, the Saab factory refurbishes them to an as-new standard. The company offers at least the industry-standard 12-month warranty on the aircraft and, providing they are used according to the manuals, Saab says the aircraft can serve for at least 30 more years.
“The aircraft will not be the limiting factor,” Rickard Hjelmberg, v-p of marketing and sales for maritime surveillance, told AIN. “You will change the mission equipment many times before you need to change the aircraft.”
In its baseline maritime surveillance configuration, as seen here on the company demonstrator aircraft in the static park, the 340MSA has a single operator station, but there is plenty of room for additional consoles or equipment. The cabin could also be configured with medical stations for medevac duties, or even with VIP seating areas.
Although the aircraft itself offers a very cost-effective platform, Saab has devised a capable mission system based on primary sensors that include the Telephonics 1700B radar and a Flir HD electro-optical/infrared sensor in a retractable turret. The aircraft also has an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder for plotting vessels, and an automatic direction-finder that scans regular distress beacon frequencies. The direction-finder not only alerts the crew of any emergencies, but can also quickly calculate the survivor’s position through triangulation.