Saab’s Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft is a combination of Bombardier’s Global 6000 ultra-long-range aircraft, General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada’s acoustics processor and Saab’s airborne surveillance solutions.

The maritime patrol aircraft design 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.

The Global 6000 configuration has a maximum cruise speed of 450kt and a long-range cruise speed of 360kt. It can operate over a range of 4,400nm.

According to Saab, the Swordfish comes with a range of customisable options:

  • AESA 360° multi-mode radar
  • Multi-statics acoustic system
  • HD quality EO/IR (electro-optical/infrared systems) sensor with integrated laser payload
  • SATCOM and tactical data links
  • Four weapon hard points
  • MAD (magnetic anomaly detector) boom
Image via Saab.

“Saab understands every mission that the modern MPA will be called upon to perform and we know how to deliver success. That is why we carefully selected the Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft for our airborne surveillance solutions. It brings a perfect balance of operational performance and cost, and is ideally suited to demanding, multi-level MPA operations.

Although an MPA has to be able to handle many different missions, airborne anti-submarine warfare remains the core competence of any credible MPA. General Dynamic Mission Systems-Canada heritage as the premier supplier of acoustic processors to aircraft means that Swordfish can locate, track and classify all submarine types,” says Lars Tossman, Head of Airborne Surveillance at Saab.

“The Swordfish initiative and the Global 6000 aircraft are truly a perfect match,” says Stéphane Leroy, Vice President of Specialized Aircraft at Bombardier.

“The redundancy built into the baseline Global 6000 aircraft – such as the four variable frequency generators as well as an auxiliary power unit and RAM air turbine generator – ensures safety and reliability on MPA missions. Other features, such as the revolutionary Bombardier Vision flight deck, reduce pilot workload for a safer, more efficient experience and the head-up display and MultiScan weather radar provide comfort, control and enhanced situational awareness for pilots.

Most importantly, its advanced and flexible wing design contributes to a smooth ride, reducing the effects of turbulence on both the crew and on-board equipment. These features are very important when one considers the Swordfish can stay on station for over 11 hours at 200 nautical miles from base.”

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How come nations such as Sweden can knock out kit cheaper and quicker than the British.


This doesn’t actually exist, it;s a concept.

Paul Irving

Some of the kit is integrated into the airframe & flying in the Globaleye. SAAB’s record on this sort of thing is excellent: it’s about to start delivering Globaleye to the launch customer on time & budget, & it did the same with the original Erieye on three different platforms. So it’s a concept, but one which has already been partly realised, from someone with an excellent record of turning concepts into functioning hardware. They don’t redesign & rebuild aircraft at the same time as installing a system like this, & they pick an airframe which they’re confident can take… Read more »


They have better run companies than BAE, where retaining jobs through sloppy timekeeping and maximising profit from through life capability management are the name of the game.

Geoffrey Roach

They have better run companies like who ?


Because we seem to insist on gold plated everything!


Because people vote for weak politicians who tolerate it.

Also, as mentioned, this is a concept…… All that kit is unlikely to be cheaper than a Poseidon.


It doesn’t exist so no one knows what the cost and capability will be.


its pretty much a collaboration amongst various companies. for example: we would insist on providing the air frame whereas they didn’t

Daniele Mandelli

Has this been ordered?

200 Miles at 11 hours loiter seems short ranged?

Assume P8 is much more capable and longer ranged which is vital for our needs with GIUK gap to cover.


Did a quick search, Boeing 737 has a range of 10200 km and the Global 6000 has a range of 11390 km so the Global 6000 has a longer range on paper. The military versions may differ in performance of course.

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you Will.


Once again being shown how to really do it. We should have been building this a decade ago.

Geoffrey Roach

We were. It was Labour’s Nimrod fiasco.


The Conservative government signed the contract for the MR4A in December 2006.

Paul Irving

1996, not 2006.


It’s a maritime Sentinel

Paul Irving

Same basic Bombardier Global Express platform (though a longer range version, I think), but with different systems, & no big canoe fairing. Raytheon proposed modifying the Sentinel radar to make it capable of maritime search & thus cover part of the UK’s MPA requirement, but AFAIK that hasn’t been done.


Many moons ago Hawker Siddeley were looking at making the 125 a possible carrier bourne mpa/AEW/ cod aircaft(cva01) it could possibly have evolved in a similar vein though smaller. What if’s! It is a remarkable achievement for the UKMoD & RAF to have created in the Nimrod MR4 a £1billion a unit aircraft. Quite remarkable. Its even more incredible that the processes that lead to that happening have never been investigated and published to prevent it happening again. So in their true traditions the RAF are on track to do it again this time with the Typhoon Centurion project: £230million… Read more »


Even more remarkable that an asset that cost 3.4 billion pounds was smashed up just as it was coming on stream and could have been in service now for several years, it’s “faults” having been ironed out. Instead roughly the same amount is going to be spent again on the P8 which has an inferior performance in several respects (range being just one) and has the same Tactical command System developed for the MRA4. This is worth a read

Geoffrey Roach

It was nowhere near on stream, had all sorts of wing and engine problems,was ten years adrift and £4 billion in the red.

Dave Branney

It definitely had wing issues. The original Comet was hand built and as such each airframe was slightly different to each other. The MRA4 was going to introduce a new more efficient wing, which was built on a computerised jig. However no two airframes were the same so each wing had to be tailored to fit each airframe. This was one of the reasons the cost started going out of control. Not sure about the others.


The entirely new wing was forced by having to install the Rolls Royce BR710 which is a fatter unit and needs larger intakes for a grater mass flow than the RR Spey. BAE Systems prefered choice was the GE CF34-8N which could fit in the of the MR2 variant and use the same intakes whilst offering improved performance. With the GE CF34-8N the Nimrod 2000 would have had refurbished wings with aerodynamic improvements rather than new wings. BAE was told that they had to use the RR solution opening up a huge of can of worms when it came to… Read more »


Read the report Geoffrey

Geoffrey Roach

Where did you get those outlandish figures. They are complete nonsense.

Daniele Mandelli

About Centurion? Yes I was confused by that. Integration of Storm Shadow, Meteor and Brimstone on Typhoon.


See replies given in Parliament when a Senior RAF officer tried to miss quote the per airframe cost. MP realised his sums were wrong and calculated for him. Very embarrassing and quite honestly ridiculously bad attempt to cover it up.


I know it’s just a concept but comparing with the Wikipedia spec one huge difference with the P-8A seems to be weapons load. One should compare weights of course since not all weapons stations are equal but, with that caveat, Saab mention 4 hardpoints vs Wikipedia citing “5 internal and 6 external stations” for the P-8A. That seems to me to be a significant difference.

Also, does anyone know whether the Raytheon APY-10 radar is AESA?


The sums were calculated as: £37billion paid by UK taxpayer so far, divided by 160 airframes delivered = 231m per unit. Not including cannibalisation of airframes (or the cost of the new targetting pods guidance pods).


What I really cannot get my head round with Nimrod MR4 was why they didn’t just build new airframes, why go for the lunacy of re-builds? Total waste for the sake of it and at a time when servicemen and women were putting their heads on the block. Unforgivable. Total criminal waste and incompetence and just to safeguard a percentage of the budget. If you don’t spend it, it will be taken away? Happened and continues to, over and over again, not just with the MoD, but the RAF for some reason is particularly prone to it. Typhoon is just… Read more »

Ian Skinner

It was one of Portillo’s cock ups, along with Chinook and the Army Housing sell off, much as I like his railway programmes, he was a terrible Defence Secretary.