British Aerospace has given some preliminary details of its studies for a Small, Agile Battlefield Aircraft (SABA), on which its Military Aircraft Division has been working at Kingston for the past two years. The study has “identified the need for a light aircraft with excellent STOL performance, heavy firepower and the agility to be able to combat low-altitude, high-performance targets", according to BAe. Among the requirements, in the company’s view, are a rate of turn of 180 deg in five seconds with a minimum radius of turn of 500 ft (152 m) at combat speeds; a transit speed of some 400 kts (740 km/h), with a 1,000-ft (305-m) take-off roll and excellent soft field performance; four-hour loiter performance at low level and a warload of at least six air-to-air missiles and a gun. The primary role is seen as that of intercepting and destroying enemy helicopters crossing the Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) on either close air support or airmobile operations. Several possible SABA configurations have been studied, within the parameters set out above, the “baseline” aircraft being identified as the P1233-1 (illustrated here). This is a low-wing canard type with no tailplane, powered by a 4,500 shp (3 350 kW) Texaco Lycoming T55 or similar turboprop driving an advanced-technology pusher contraprop with 12-18 blades, behind the vertical tail surfaces. With a span of 36 ft (10.97 m) and wing area of 219-5 sq ft (20,39 m2), the P1233-1 has an estimated max takeoff weight of 11.000 lb (4 990 kg). Armament comprises six AIM-132 ASRAAMs plus a 25-mm Aden gun.
Three-view drawings of a British Aerospace project for a Small Agile Battlefield Aircraft (SABA), designated P1233-1, designed to destroy enemy combat helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft and cruise missiles on the battlefields of the future. Performance requirements include a rate of turn of 180° in 5 seconds, minimum turn radius of 500 ft. at combat speeds, 400 kt. transit speed, 1,000 ft. take-off roll. 4 hours loiter at low-level, and an armament of six air-to-air missiles and a gun