Swordfish MPA Delivers Multi-Role Maritime Air Power (Video)

Saab continues to enhance the Swordfish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). Detailed design studies have expanded operational capabilities, adding new mission equipment and a significantly expanded operational payload.

The Swordfish MPA is the smart solution for the full range of real-world maritime missions that modern customers demand. 

Saab’s Swordfish MPA is a strategic, multi-role asset that combines the latest, operationally proven sensors with Bombardier’s* ultra-long range, Global 6000 platform.

It is a MPA system that can fly further, stay longer on station and deliver superior results in every task that MPAs are required to fulfill across the complete spectrum of national, international and coalition missions.

(The Swordfish MPA is a high-end, multi-role platform that offers strategic ISR capabilities over both sea and land. Courtesy of Saab and YouTube)

Recent product development milestones at Saab and Bombardier have validated a significant increase in the available payload carried on Swordfish’s four, NATO-compatible hard points.

  • Swordfish can now be armed with up to six lightweight-torpedoes for the ASW role
  • Swordfish can also carry the Saab next generation RBS15 anti-ship missile or a mix of missiles and torpedoes to assure total sea control in every aspect
  • The Swordfish can equally carry a load of four search-and-rescue pods underlining its true multi-mission capability across the maritime domain

Another capability that sets Swordfish apart from competitors is its ASW suite with a world-leading acoustics processor, magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), gravity-launching systems and an operational load of around 200 A, F and G size sonobuoys.

This complete and highly-capable ASW suite enables Swordfish to locate, track and classify the most advanced, high-threat sub-surface targets for several hours, with a higher probability of detection.

Gary Shand, sales director at Saab business unit Airborne ISR
Gary Shand, sales director at Saab business unit Airborne ISR

“We have invested heavily to produce an MPA at the peak of operational capability today and future-proofed for decades to come when new technologies, such as unmanned systems, come online,” says Gary Shand, sales director at Saab business unit Airborne ISR.

“Anti-submarine warfare is the cornerstone of any MPA and we can draw on Saab’s unique design insight into submarines and airborne ISR, underwater weapons and sensors, together with decades of experience from our valued partners including GDMS-Canada, CAE and leading sonobuoy specialists Ultra Electronics UK.”

“The result is an MPA optimised for the demands of ASW, especially at low-level, which is where the game is truly won or lost.”

“The need to classify targets from a passive source remains as relevant as ever and is enhanced by confirmation from other sensors such as the MAD.”

In parallel with Swordfish, Saab’s multi-role and swing-role GlobalEye AEW&C system continues its successful progress with three units in production and scheduled for on-time delivery.

Swordfish shares around 70 per cent commonality with its GlobalEye sister-ship including the Global 6000 platform, mission management system, electronic warfare and self-protection systems, AESA radar, electro-optics, AIS and the majority of communications systems.

(Learn More about the importance of Maritime Surveillance – Safeguard your future with Swordfish MPA. Courtesy of Saab and YouTube)

Swordfish was launched at the 2016 Singapore Air Show and Saab has since received substantial interest from potential users in every corner of the world, many of whom are already experienced MPA operators.

“We are very encouraged by the increasing interest shown in the Swordfish MPA. We have a fantastic product that offers a high-end, strategic capability with much lower acquisition and operating costs compared to airliner equivalents,” says Emilien Saindon, head of sales and marketing, Saab business unit Airborne ISR.

“Our dialogue with the market and the wider anti-submarine warfare community shows there is a clear requirement for a fast, long-range, multi-mission MPA that performs across a range of profiles with smarter ways of operating to reduce costs.”

“Saab continues to invest in this program and we know that we can deliver a system that will change forever the way users think and act in in the maritime domain.”


The proliferation of submarines around the world continues to increase and many countries have a growing need to replace existing, aging MPA platforms.

Regional maritime disputes, anti-piracy, terrorism and security of national waters, borders and lines of commerce mean that the demand for multi-role ISR air power has never been more pressing.

Saab is committed to expanding its presence in Asia Pacific and working with local industries in the region to deliver, support and sustain the Swordfish MPA far into the future.