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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Swedish plane maker Saab revealed that it is speaking to a number of different countries in the Asia-Pacific region about its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), presently based on the Saab 340B airframe.
Richard Hjelmberg, head of marketing and sales, told Defense News that he was hopeful of signing at least one customer during 2014.
“We are working with five or six different countries in the region,” he said.
The company also flew a demonstration flight for an unnamed but prospective near-term regional customer on the eve of the Singapore Airshow, which included a demonstration of the systems’ ability to detect a range of shipping in littoral waters.
Hjelmberg said that the MSA system was currently based on refurbished airframes and was priced at around US$20 million fully equipped, around the same price as a new Beechcraft Super King Air, its nearest competitor.
The baseline configuration displayed by the MSA at the show included the belly-mounted Telephonics RDR-1700B Synthetic Aperture Radar, with ISAR modes and a FLIR Systems Star Safire 380HD EO/IR sensor in a retractable turret beneath the rear fuselage. However, for customers requiring enhanced overland surveillance, the later RDR-1700G(v)2 can be substituted.
Hjelmberg said the Saab company aircraft could be reconfigured and delivered to a prospective customer in around four months, and newly converted aircraft would be delivered 12 months from contract signature.
“We project a requirement across the world for between 15 and 20aircraft over the next five years,” he said.