The Saab Model 340 "twin" was born from work begun by Saab AB in the mid-1970s and the resulting product became the company's first foray into the civilian passenger hauler market with a twin-engined design intended for short-to-medium range regionally-minded routes. A first-flight, by way of prototype, was recorded in 1983 and the series was officially introduced in 1984. Production spanned from 1983 until 1999 to which 459 units were completed. The Model 340 went on to form the basis of the Saab Model 340 AEW&C military platform of 1997 as well as the Model 2000 passenger hauler of 1994.
In designing the Model 340, Saab engineers elected for a low-monoplane wing arrangement carrying a pair of turboprop engines for fuel and cost efficiency and to satisfy the operational ranges required of the aircraft. The tail unit was given a single, large-area vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The cockpit was situated at the extreme forward end of the nose in the usual way (with side-by-side seating for the crew of two) and a tricycle undercarriage (wheeled and retractable) was used for ground-running.
Due to the considerable growth of the Model 340 project to this point, Saab enlisted the help of U.S.-based Fairchild Aircraft, a storied concern with a solid history of airplane-making. The aircraft was then official designated as "SF340" to mark the joint-venture as well as the company model number. The completed prototype went airborne for the first time on January 25th, 1983 with the wings, engine nacelles and tail contributed by Fairchild. All other facets of the aircraft were originated in-house by Saab. Fairchild remained a participant up until 1987 as it worked to remove itself from the aircraft business altogether.
The initial production models were designated as "Model 340A" and these could seat up to 36 passengers depending on seating arrangement while being powered by 2 x General Electric CT7-5A2 turboprop engines of 1,735 horsepower output. Saab also marketed a VIP and cargo versions of this aircraft to help broaden market appeal for the product.
The Tp 100 was a VIP passenger hauler ordered by the Swedish Air Force and the Tp 100A was a slightly revised version of it based in the Model 340B. The OS 100 became a one-off unarmed surveillance model to serve the "Open Skies" initiative in Europe and the Model 340B Plus was an improved Model 340B with revised wingtips. The Model 340B Plus SAR-200 was developed for the Japanese Coast Guard to serve in the Maritime Search & Rescue (SAR) role. Its cargo-hauling variant became the Model 340AF.
The Model 340A QC was debuted as a "quick-change" freighter / transport combination model and the Model 340 MSA became a dedicated "Maritime Security Aircraft" form (with SAR capabilities built-in as well).
The military-minded Model 340 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) variant was first-flown in 1994 and introduced in 1997. The platform went on to interest the air services of Pakistan, Sweden, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which collectively operate just a few units in the role. The Hellenic Air Force of Greece is now a former operator as it gave up use of a pair of the aircraft. A total of twelve AEW&C-minded versions were built from 1994 to 1999 and the primary visual difference of the type was the rectangular structure installed over the dorsal spine of the fuselage. There were also several antenna / sensor fins noted ventrally.
The dimensionally larger Model 2000 was similar in most regards to the form and function of the Model 340 though it could not match the commercial success of its earlier sister. It was first-flown in March of 1992 and introduced for service in 1993. Production ran from 1992 until 1999 and yielded 63 total units. A few subvariants of this mark eventually emerged including the Model 2000 MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft).
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February 2022 - Boeing and General Electric have partnered to develop a hybrid-powered variant of the Saab 340B model.
Saab AB - Sweden / Fairchild Aircraft - USA Manufacturer(s)
Greece (retired); Pakistan; Sweden; Thailand; United Arab Emirates (ordered) Operators
None. Special mission equipment fitted for military roles.
Saab 340 - Base Series Designation
Model 340A - Airliner; 2 x GE CT7-5A2 engines of 1,735 horsepower each; seating for up to 36.
Model 340B - Airliner; 2 x GE CT7-9B engines of 1,870 horsepower each.
Tp 100 - VIP passenger hauler based on the Model 340B and B Plus; Swedish Air Force usage.
Tp 100A - VIP passenger hauler based in Model 340B.
OS 100 - Open Skies program aircraft; single example.
Model 340B Plus - Improved 340B with revised wingtips.
Model 340B Plus SAR-200 - SAR variant for Japanese Coast Guard.
Model 340A QC - Combination cargo/passenger hauler.
Model 340 MSA - Maritime Security Aircraft configuration (SAR capable).
Model 2000 - Dimensionally larger variant of the Model 340.
340B AEW&C - Airborne Early Warning & Control platform; 12 examples completed.
S100B Argus - Swedish Air Force designation for 340B AEW.
S100D Argus - Swedish Air Force designation for 340B AEW-300.
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