SAAB, the Swedish defence and security company, has used the recent Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition held at Waterkloof Air Force Base to showcase its 340 Maritime Security Aircraft to the South African Air Force as a strong contender to replace its venerable Dakota 47TP maritime patrol aircraft.
Under Project Saucepan, the SAAF has for several years been looking for a replacement maritime-cum-light transport aircraft to take over from the
The increase in piracy off the east coast of Africa, as well as threats of terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities in
SAAB’s Anders Bergstrand said the aircraft’s current operational track record as a reliable civilian craft, versatile and adaptable roles as well low operating and maintenance costs made it very competitive.
Johan Rättvall, SAAB’s marketing and Sales Director, said that to establish and maintain the capacity to repair and service different types of aircraft was a very costly undertaking. He pointed out that in
Bergstrand said the aircraft had a standard range of 6,5 hours flying time
Bergstrand said the aircraft had a standard range of 6,5 hours flying time, but this could be extended to up to nine hours or about 1 715 nautical miles using auxiliary fuel tanks. It could also operate from airfields with short runways.
The 340 MSA can be configured for a variety of missions which include airborne maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, search and rescue, oil spill detection as well as a variety of transport missions.
In recent years, SA has undertaken several search and rescue missions for fishing boats in trouble and has had to deal with the effects of oil spills off its coasts.
Good communications are central to being able to police and monitor the coastal and extended waters for any country. The system includes such features as satellite communications, an Automatic Identification System or AIS, 360 degree maritime radar and an electro-optic sensor turret.
Rättvall said there had been considerable interest in the aircraft from other African nations and further afield during AAD. Many countries were looking at increasing their maritime security as incidents of piracy and smuggling were increasing.