The business jet will likely be armed with Saab's RBS-15 anti-ship missile and a lightweight torpedo; possibly a EuroTorp weapon. The Q400 is planned to carry just the torpedo.
"This is a significant step for us. We are sure [with the new platforms and Swordfish] we are really able to provide high-end strategic capability which is affordable," he said.
The executive declined to talk about the development timetable for the two aircraft but said his company had been working with Bombardier for some time and the platforms would be available in a "competitive time frame; it will certainly fulfill customer requirements for entry into service."
Saab is one of many defense aerospace companies at Singapore 2016 eyeing a potentially lucrative MPA and anti-submarine warfare market across Southeast Asia and beyond as China flexes its growing military muscle in a territorial dispute in the South China Sea with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
"Even countries such as Malaysia, which generally has warm relations with Beijing, have become alarmed by China's ever-broadening claims to the South China Sea," said Dan Darling, a regional analyst at Forecast International, the US-based market forecasting consultants.
"The need to acquire intelligence-gathering, surveillance and early warning assets in order to exercise control over each nation's own economic, security and territorial interests has now become paramount in countries like the Philippines," he said.
"High seas threats such as terrorism and piracy are an issue in these waters as well," he said.
Multimission aircraft are very much in fashion as industry looks to meet customer demands to squeeze as much capability from a single aircraft type as possible.
Example: Saab will find itself taking on L3 and Elbit, both of which have Q400 developments underway for multimission capable aircraft.
L3 executives at the show said they expected the first flight of their modified Q400 demonstration aircraft to take place in the autumn.
It's a very fragmented market and will become more so as turboprop products are challenged by modified business jets to meet requirements.
Saab finds itself head-to-head with Elbit in the modified business jet market where the Israeli company last year announced it was developing an armed version of the Bombardier Global 5000 for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare.
So is this the beginning of the end for the turboprop in maritime applications? Fernando Ciria, the marketing director for military aircraft at Airbus Defence & Space, says not.
"We are keeping going with the C295 and CN235 turboprops. We think turboprops remain valid in most markets, offering a compromise of good transit speeds and good capability for loitering operations at low altitude, low speed and low cost," he said.
"Airbus is sticking with its turboprop maritime aircraft line while continuing to look at proposing the A320 family of jets on a case-by-case basis for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications," he said.
Forecast International market analysis shows Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philipines as being among potential buyers for maritime aircraft.
"Demand and funding commitments represent two opposite ends of the same pole," they said.
It's been that way for a while but the tensions with China might just break open the purse strings, said executives here.
One way of doing that might be to buy second-hand Lockheed Martin P-3s — Forecast International reports Vietnam and the Philippines as possibly going that route.
"My perception at this moment is the USN will not be the source of P-3s in the next few years," said Ciria. "They have squeezed most of the operational life out of their P-3 Charlies. I don't foresee that second-hand P-3s will impact the market unless people want to spend huge amounts of money on them."