Swordfish Redefines Tomorrow’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Saab’s Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) brings a new level of operational confidence to the global MPA market. The winning combination of Bombardier’s Global 6000 ultra-long-range aircraft, General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada’s acoustics processor and Saab’s pedigree in total airborne surveillance solutions, ensures a new era in maritime air power.

Saab’s Swordfish Maritime Patrol Aircraft is a strategic, multi-role ISR system that redefines air power in the maritime domain. No other MPA on the market delivers such a high level of mission performance in such an adaptable and sustainable package. With a payload of up to six torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, over 200 sonobuoys, the world’s most modern sensor suite and a mission endurance close to 13 hours, Swordfish is in a class of its own.

Saab has a unique portfolio that covers every element of the maritme equation; from silent AIP submarines and stealthy warships to weapons, sensors, electronic warfare and communications. Thanks to this huge body of experience, Saab is best-placed to build, deliver, support and sustain a modern, relevant and supremely capable MPA.

“Saab understands every mission that the modern MPA will be called upon to perform and we know how to deliver success. That is why we carefully selected the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft for our airborne surveillance solutions. It brings a perfect balance of operational performance and cost, and is ideally suited to demanding, multi-level MPA operations. Although an MPA has to be able to handle many different missions, airborne anti-submarine warfare remains the core competence of any credible MPA. General Dynamic Mission Systems-Canada heritage as the premier supplier of acoustic processors to aircraft means that Swordfish can locate, track and classify all submarine types,” says Lars Tossman, Head of Airborne Surveillance at Saab.     

The evidence shows that large, costly airliner-type platforms are no longer needed to perform the MPA and maritme ISR role. New technology means that size, weight and power requirements have been reduced across all key mission systems. This, together with more powerful computer processing power, means less space and fewer operators are needed. This is the smart solution for a future-proof MPA, and the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft provides the perfect platform. Saab’s GlobalEye multi-role AEW&C system also uses the Global 6000 and has the same engineering base as the Swordfish.

“The Swordfish initiative and the Global 6000 aircraft are truly a perfect match,” says Stéphane Leroy, Vice President of Specialized Aircraft at Bombardier. “The redundancy built into the baseline Global 6000 aircraft – such as the four variable frequency generators as well as an auxiliary power unit and RAM air turbine generator – ensures safety and reliability on MPA missions. Other features, such as the revolutionary Bombardier Vision flight deck, reduce pilot workload for a safer, more efficient experience and the head-up display and MultiScan weather radar provide comfort, control and enhanced situational awareness for pilots. Most importantly, its advanced and flexible wing design contributes to a smooth ride, reducing the effects of turbulence on both the crew and on-board equipment. These features are very important when one considers the Swordfish can stay on station for over 11 hours at 200 nautical miles from base.”

Saab’s Swordfish MPA is part of a common family of advanced airborne systems that includes Saab’s GlobalEye multi-role and swing-role airborne early warning and control system. Based on a common engineering programme that is tested, proven and proceeding on schedule, both Swordfish and GlobalEye benefit from Saab’s many decades of success as a supplier of large-scale, complex systems for national defence and security. A thorough process of definition, development and verification has now delivered a smart, future-proof solution for maritime air power.  

As the number of submarines in service continues to increase, and as more complex martime and littoral threats emerge, there is an urgent need to provide multi-mission solutions that serve as force-multipliers and multi-service assets. This mix of adaptability and versatility is at the heart of the Swordfish programme. By working closely with our key suppliers and sharing experience and new ideas, Swordfish is ready to defend the seas for decades to come.

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Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs. 

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