SAAB SF 340
For several years, Saab-Scania had been working on a project known as Aircraft 108 (later renamed the Transporter), calculation and design work on the later versions of which (1083 and 1084) had advanced to the stage at which production was feasible. The scope of the project was such that the initial costs and the risks involved were sub-stantial, added to which Saab-Scania had no recent experience in marketing an airliner. As a result SAAB sought a partner in the venture. Negotiations were initiated in 1979 with Fairchild Industries.
This resulted in a 65/35 co-operation agreement being signed on January 25 1980. In this agreement, Fairchild would manufacture the wing and tailplane surfaces and the engine housings at its Republic factory on Long Island, and Saab would manufacture the fuselage and be responsible for final assembly at its new plant in Linkoping, Sweden. SAAB was also responsible for the systems integration, and flight-testing.
Initial project name was '3000' but in July 1980, it was officially named Saab-Fairchild SF-340. In June 1980 General Electric was selected as the engine supplier with its new CT-7 engine derived from the T-700 helicopter unit. Meanwhile Saab had placed a group of engineers with Fairchild to design the aircraft following 15 September 1980. Most of 1980 went to define the aircraft and build a wooden mock-up in Linkoping.
A cantilever low-wing monoplane of basic all-metal structure with the selective use of composite materials, the aircraft is of conventional configuration; it has a fail-safe pressurised fuselage structure, retractable tricycle landing gear with twin wheels on each unit, and is powered by two turboprop engines in wing-mounted nacelles.
The aircraft comprises a round-section fuselage seating up to 35 passengers with a flight attendant and two-person crew. The wing uses NASA-developed low-drag airfoil technology, and two General Electric CT7 turboprops were chosen as powerplants.
Marketing of the aircraft began immediately and early customers were Crossair in Switzerland, Swedair in Sweden and Comair and Air Midwest in USA. In late 1981 production began in the brand new facilities in Linkoping adjacent to the military factory, By early 1982 major sub-assemblies were finished and the first wing was lifted out of the jig in April. The fuselage and wing were mated in August. The rolling out the prototype came on 27 October 1982 in the presence of the Swedish King.
The first Saab-Fairchild 340 prototype (SE-ISF) flew on 25 January 1983, three years to the day after the agreement had been signed with Fairchild. This, plus a second prototype (SE-ISA) and the first production aircraft (SE-ISB flown on 25 August 1983) participated in the certification programme. After a flight test period lasting 16 months involving four aircraft, the SF-340 received its JAR type-certificate on May 30 1984 and FAA approval granted by 29 June 1984. The 340 was the first aircraft to be certified under the new JAR rules in which Belgiurn, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK participated. Australia followed on October 30. The prototype was subsequently mounted on a pole outside Linkoping when the city celebrated its 700 anniversary.
The second prototype has been retained for the subsequent flight-testing including the 340B certification. It was being used in preparation for the Saab 2000 flight test programme.
The third 340, was a pre-production aircraft. It was subsequently modified by Fairchild to incorporate an APU. It was later cut up, and various pieces used for the Saab 2000 programme. The last aircraft was the first production standard, and was later delivered to Comair.
The first production aircraft, s/n 003 SE-ISB, was flown on 25 August 1983.
SAAB SF340A s/n 005 was the first delivered, and it went to Crossair on 6 June 1984. This was placed into service on June 15 flying from Basle to Paris.
Initially two versions were on offer: the basic air transport configuration and an executive version. The first of these 'biz-props' was sold to Pittsburgh's Mellon Bank. The type suffered a setback in 1984 when it was temporarily grounded, after Crossair suffered inflight engine shut downs, but these teething troubles were soon rectified and Saab pressed on with the next stage in the aircraft's development. In 1985, at the Paris air show, Saab launched a 340 with uprated CT7 engines driving larger Dowty propellers. Maximum take-off weight was increased from the original 11,793kg to 12,872kg. Existing SF-340s were offered the improvement as a modification programme.
Saab attempted to sell the 340 as a corporate aircraft, but only sold four 340As. For this marketing campaign the Saab office in USA actually operated a corporate demonstrator (N340SF) during 1985 and 1986. As the sales-result could not warrant an exclusive demonstrator, it was sold and later converted to airliner standard for Comair.
Fairchild entered economic problems partly due to the increased costs of starting up the 340 programme and partly because of the cancelled T-46 programme. Fairchild withdrew from the aircraft business altogether. Swearingen in Texas was sold and an agreement was reached with Saab to withdraw from the 340 programme. As of 1 November 1985, Saab took over the responsibility for the 340 and renamed it the 'Saab SF-340'. In 1987 it became simply the 'Saab 340' and the factory in Linkoping was expanded to take over the wing- and tail-production, com-pleted in June 1986. SAAB initially retained the SF340 designation but later changed it to 340A.
Next version to be offered was the freighter S340QC which was a quick-change cargo aircraft, the first of which was delivered to Finnaviation in 1987. In that same year, as Saab severed its final links with Fairchild, the family was renamed the S340.
The 100th 340 was delivered in September 1987.
1987 saw the launch of the Saab 340B, first flying on April 21 1989, which features higher power output CT7-9B engines, a larger span tailplane, and a further increased maximum takeoff weight of 12,928kg. Crossair was again the launch customer for this version. From aircraft number 160, all 340s were 'B' models. The last SF340A, of 159, was delivered in August 1989. The SF340B has two 1750 shp (1 305 kW) GE CT7-9B turboprops for hot and high use.
Announced improvements to the Saab 340 will enhance the aircraft's hot-and-high performance and short field capability, through a 0.6m wingtip extension. This increases the Saab 340's takeoff weight by 544kg, equivalent to six/seven passengers. A third-generation cabin interior, common to the Saab 2000, was also being introduced, along with modifications to the APU and optional low-pressure tyres.
In 1987 and 1988 44 340s were sold each year. In 1989 Saab sold 123 aircraft, the 300 mark was reached in 1990. By mid-1993 Saab 340 orders had exceeded 400, with over 340 delivered, to 28 airlines and four corporate clients.
For the Swedish military the SAAB-340AEW Erieye airborne early warning version was developed, the contract for which was signed by the Swedish air force on 3 February 1993.
This version features an Ericsson phased array surveillance radar above 1he fuselage, with three operators in the cabin and a mission endurance of up to seven hours. Six aircraft were anticipated lor Swedish service with an initial in-service date of 1995.
The last development of the 340 was the 340B Plus that introduced changes developed for the larger SAAB 2000. The first 340B Plus was delivered in March 1994. Production of the 340 ended in 1999 with a total of 459 airframes built.
Engines: 2 x General Electric CT7-5A2, 1735 hp
Wing span: 21,44 m (70 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 41.81 sq.m (450 sq.ft)
Length: 19.72m (64ft 8in)
Height: 6.87 m (22 ft 6 in)
Max. t/o weight: 12400 kg / 27337 lb
Max. land, weight: 27,200 lb
Max. payload: 8,085 lb
Typical cruis. speed: 275 kt
Maximum/cruising speed: 507 kph / 315 mph
Landing speed: 154 kph / 96 mph
Range: 805 nm / 1500 km / 930 miles
T/o field length: 3,900 ft
Max, ceiling: 8500 m / 27890 ft
Max, ceiling Exec. version: 25,000ft
Max. SL cabin altitude: 3650 m / 11975 ft
Engines: 2 x General Electric CT7-9B, 1750 shp (1305 kW)
Wing span: 21.44 m (70 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 41.81 sq. m (450 sq. ft)
Length: 19.73 m (64 ft 9 in)
Height: 6.87 m (22 ft 6 in)
Max. t/o weight: 13000 kg / 28660 lb
Max. land. weight: 28, 000 lb
Max. payload: 8,285 lb
OEW: 8035 kg / 17714 lb
Typical cruise speed: 285 kt / 522 km/h / 324 mph
Range (35 pax): 980 nrn / 1807 km / 1123 miles
T/o field length: 4,050ft
Max ceiling: 25,000 ft / 7620 m