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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]

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 01:35 PM
The US firm Scaled Composites were in a similar program with the ARES. The Scaled Composites ARES was designed for the US Army as a light agile support aircraft that could land and take off from rough ground. It was cancelled for some reason back in the early 1990s. There is one in the film 'Iron eagle 3' that poses as a fictional Messerschmit 263.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 01:45 PM
The Rssians also seemed to briefly like the idea as in 1999 Jane's published an impression of a near P.1233-1 clone called the SIBNIA 'Projected Close Support Aircraft'.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 02:04 PM
A manned UCAV??

the ventrail gun turret is interesting, remind anyone of the prophesised JSF solid state laser. It feels like the concept was too specialised to be worth the investment but I bet it would have been a cool little plane to mess about in, shoot down some helicopters and back to base for brandy and cigars!

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 06:22 PM
Thanks waynos, I've always had difficulties to find info on the SABA...

I think I saw a drawing that was quite close to P.1233.1 although it had more a jaguar-style forward fuselage.
This project seems purely focused on a West/USSR conflict with tanks battles and helicopters roaming the skies above the battlefield, I didn't notice back then.

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 11:35 AM

Originally posted by waynos
The Rssians also seemed to briefly like the idea as in 1999 Jane's published an impression of a near P.1233-1 clone called the SIBNIA 'Projected Close Support Aircraft'.

I think you mean this:

It can be one of Aviaprogress designs. Here are some others:

Also interesting is mix-powered plane designed by MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute):

I planned to write an article about all modern small battlefield aircrafts, but because a lot of duty in school this time it is impossible.

posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 01:39 PM
Yes Matej, the top picture is the one I mean
Incidentally, I don't call it a 'near clone' as if it was a copy, like so many here do, but only in the sense that it uses the same unusual layout.

The layout of the design in that bottom picture reminds of this - but with a propeller as well.

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