Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab introduced the Swordfish long-range, multi-role maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) mission system on Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier’s Global 6000 jet aircraft and Q400 turboprop aircraft platforms in February 2016.
The maritime patrol aircraft is designed to perform a variety of tasks on both land and sea. Its mission capabilities include anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), combat search-and-rescue (CSAR), maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), anti-piracy, monitoring of exclusive economic zones (EEZ), maritime counter-terrorism (MCT), on-scene C4ISTAR, protection of national borders, and Special Forces support.
Cockpit and cabin of Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft
The Q400 configuration features a glass cockpit with an integrated mission display and is equipped with an in-flight operable airdrop door. The Global 6000 is installed with the Bombardier Vision Flightdeck.
The cabin houses four operator work stations, mission consoles, integrated C4 (command, control, communications and computers) mission system, observer positions, crew rest / mission planning area, galley and lavatory. The oversized observer windows on either side of the cabin offer a wide-angle view.
The MPA is integrated with a fixed and rotary sonobuoy launch system, which has storage racks for sonobuoy stowage and dropping during anti-submarine warfare tasks.
Sensors and countermeasures
A high-definition electro-optical payload, integrated with a laser sensor, is mounted under the nose to provide continuous surveillance, high-quality imagery and enhanced target detection.
A 360° active electronically scanned array (AESA) multi-mode maritime radar located under the fuselage is intended for detection and tracking of small targets in high sea state conditions, ground-mapping imaging, and auto-tracking of multiple threats. Communication is provided by tactical data links and satellite communications (SATCOM).
The aircraft also incorporates an automatic identification system (AIS), identification friend or foe (IFF), direction-finding (DF) sensors, and multi-statics acoustic system.
The electronic support measures (ESM) and self-protection systems aboard the MPA provide protection from radiated electromagnetic signals while the multiple warning receivers offer all-around protection.
Maritime patrol aircraft weaponry
The maritime patrol aircraft is equipped with up to four weapon hardpoints under the wings to carry anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, and drop pods for search-and-rescue missions.
Global 6000 MPA engine propulsion
The Global 6000 MPA variant is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710A2-20 turbofan engines, which develop a thrust of 65.6kN each. The power for Q400 version comes from two PW150A turboprop engines, which generate a maximum take-off power of 5,071shp each.
Swordfish MPA performance
The Global 6000 configuration has a maximum cruise speed of 450k and a long-range cruise speed of 360k. It can fly up to a service ceiling of 11,277m and operate over a range of 4,400nmi. Its take-off and landing distances are 1,974m and 813.8m, respectively, and endurance is approximately 510 minutes when operating at an altitude of 1,524m.
The maximum and long-range cruise speeds of the Q400 turboprop variant are 329k and 274k, while the range is approximately 3,000nmi. The Q400 aircraft has a take-off distance of 1,468m, landing distance of 1,290m, service ceiling of 7,620m and flight time of 450 minutes.
The Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft has the ability to perform missions under ISA standard atmosphere, sea level airfield and nil wind conditions.