posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 12:52 PM
The acronym SABA stands for Small agile Battlefield Aircraft and it covers several different concepts dreamed up by BAe Kingston (historically better
known as Hawker Aircraft Ltd) in 1987.
It was an odd concept in that it was exactly what it said on the tin, in that it was compact, highly manoeverable and intended for use over the
battlefield. It was, however, intended to carry no bombs but merely to be armed with A2A missiles and guns and its intended role was to clear the
battlefield area of helicopters, Tilt Rotors, UAV's and tanks. Clearly was intended soley for use where air superiority had already been secured.
The parameters for it included low cost, low vulnerability, very high agility (180 degrees in 5 seconds), carefree handling, soft field operation,
long endurance and all-weather and night operatio, the idea clearly being to afford the ground commander a virtually permanently on call air support
element rather than the fast jets streaking in and out that is the norm.
There were three basic proposals, the propfan powered P.1233-1 and P.1238 and three separate jet proposals covered by the P.1234 project.
A point of interest among the jet versions is the P.1234-1's large ventral blended gun turret, with its 360 degree rotation it was to be coupled with
the aircrafts high rate of roll and a helmet mounted sight to give unlimited field of fire, the P.1234-3 took this idea further with a similarly
configured ventral 'hypervelocity missile' launcher.
The P.1234-2 was simply a jet powered comparison to the propfan designs using an ALF-501 turbofan.
Although NATO were very keen on the idea BAE themselves were not so confident and the programme lapsed. Here are the pics.
[edit on 9-12-2005 by waynos]