Friday, 23 June 2017

Swordfish Multi-Role Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA)

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 glass cockpit with an integrated mission display and is equipped with an in-flight operable airdrop door. The Global 6000 is installed with Bombardier Vision Flightdeck.

Rockwell Collins head-up guidance system HUD

Synthetic vision is monochrome on the HUD, using essentially the same imagery displayed on the full-color Fusion primary flight displays. The difference is that when looking through the HUD, the pilot can “see” the real world, including clouds, while also viewing synthetic-vision images and flight information in the HUD. So on a cloudy day, for example, the pilot can virtually see through the clouds to perceive features on the ground such as buildings, lakes, runways and so forth. Source:

The cabin houses four operator work stations, mission consoles, integrated C4 (command, control, communications, 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 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, as well as for auto tracking of multiple threats. 

Communication is provided by tactical data links and satellite communications (SATCOM).

The aircraft also incorporates 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 and the multiple warning receivers offer all-round protection.

Maritime patrol aircraft weaponry

The maritime patrol aircraft is equipped with up to four weapon hard points under the wings to carry anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and drop pods for search-and-rescue missions.

In addition to both land and sea maritime, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and C4ISTAR (command, control, communications, computers, information/intelligence, surveillance, targeting acquisition and reconnaissance) missions, SAAB is also marketing the Swordfish as a platform for anti-piracy and border control. The aircraft could also be used for such tasks as long-range search and rescue, combat search and rescue, maritime counter terrorism and special forces support. The Swordfish does not have to be just a passive observer but can also be used in combat scenarios, including anti-submarine and anti-surface unit warfare.

The aircraft is fitted with four hard points under the wings which can carry anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and drop pods for search-and-rescue missions. The design has recently been modified to increase the number of armaments it can carry. “The pylons can now carry 2,000lb,” said Gary Shand. “The Swordfish can now carry up to six Eurotorp MU90 lightweight torpedo for anti-submarine warfare. Alternatively, it can carry RBS 15EF air-launched anti-ship missiles or a combination of different weapons. If the aircraft is being used for a search and rescue mission, each pylon can carry a Skad rescue pod containing a life raft and other equipment which can be dropped next to survivors in the sea. Source:

Eurotorp MU90 lightweight torpedo

The MU90 Impact lightweight torpedo has been designed to meet the requirements of both the French and the Italian navies. The MU90 is optimized for anti-submarine warfare in all environments.

The electric powered MU90 is able to engage small or large, conventional or nuclear submarines in blue and shallow water. It is a acoustically discreet fire and forget torpedo and can operate in dense countermeasures environments identifying decoys.

The MU90 Impact torpedo can be launched from any platform such as surface vessel, aircraft, helicopter, missile and underwater platforms such as mines and submarines. The MU90 features a variable speed (29 to 50 knots) to better adapt to different scenarios, a maximum range of 25,000 meters and 1,000 meters depth, an acoustic homing head, and a shaped charge warhead.

The MU90 can be used by surface vessels as a anti-torpedo torpedo and can simultaneously engage up to 10 targets.

Diameter: 324 millimeter (12.8 inch)
Length: 2.85 meter (112 inch)
Max Range: 25,000 meter (13.5 nautical mile)
Max Target's Depth: 1,000 meter (1,099 yard)
Min Range: 10,000 meter (5.40 nautical mile)
Cruise Speed: 15 mps (0.05 mach)
Top Speed: 26 mps (94 kph)
Weight: 304 kilogram (670 pound)


RBS 15EF air-launched anti-ship missiles


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.

2 x Rolls-Royce BR710A2-20 turbofan engines

The BR710 is a 2-shaft, high-bypass-ratio engine with a single-stage low pressure (LP) compressor and 10-stage high pressure (HP) compressor, driven by a 2-stage HP turbine and 2-stage LP turbine respectively. The engine features a single low emissions annular combustor with 20 burners. Long life on wing, low fuel burn and excellent environmental performance contribute to low operating costs with maximum reliability.


Swordfish MPA performance

The Global 6000 configuration has a maximum cruise speed of 450kt and a long-range cruise speed of 360kt. It can fly up to a service ceiling of 11,277m and operate over a range of 4,400nm. 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 329kt and 274kt, while the range is approximately 3,000nm. The Q400 aircraft has a take-off distance of 1,468m, a landing distance of 1,290m, a service ceiling of 7,620m, and a 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.

Main material source: naval-technologycom

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