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Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

Written by Sakhal

While United States efforted to supply their allies with modern combat aircraft, there was a neutral country - Sweden - that had been developing on its own aircraft as good as the best ones. Before the Second World War and during it, Sweden had been quite reticent regarding foreign combat aircraft and the company SAAB had created a national fighter, the J-21A. It was a design with two tail booms and a rear propeller, propelled by an inverted-V 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine Daimler-Benz DB 605B built in Sweden under licence; the first flight was effectuated the 13th July 1943 and during the trials the prototype reached the respectable maximum speed of 640 kilometers/hour at an altitude of 4575 meters. The J-21A had a very advanced wing, totally covered in metal, tensioned and riveted, with a new aerodynamic section of high speed; among other innovations there was a "cartridge type" ejection seat built by Bofors that allowed the pilot to avoid the propeller blades and the horizontal tail. Armament consisted of one Hispano-Suiza HS 404 (in initial version) or Bofors (in successive versions) 20-millimeter cannon and four Bofors (copy of Colt) 12.7 millimeters machine guns, two in the nose and two in the wings. The new aircraft entered service with the Royal Swedish Air Force in the late 1945, being delivered a total of 298 series aircraft; the last version had capability for using unguided rockets and bombs, being equipped with bomb aiming sight.

Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

SAAB J-21A or early version from the F 9 Fighter Wing of the Swedish Air Force, based in Gotheborg, serving between 1946 and 1949.

In that time, SAAB was already working in a turbojet version, the J-21R. This one flew in 1947, but because many structural modifications had to be done, the delivery of series aircraft was delayed until 1949; thus, the order for 120 aircraft was reduced to 60. The efforts of the SAAB were already focused in a much more modern aircraft, the J-29, which had the honor of being the first turbojet fighter with swept-wings to enter service in Western Europe after the Second World War. The flight tests for the first prototype were made the 1st September 1948, with a turbojet engine De Havilland Ghost. Series aircraft were fitted with an engine Ghost 50 built in Sweden under licence. The first series model, the J-29A, entered service with the F 14 Fighter Wing in Norkoping, in May 1951; the chubby shape of the aircraft earned it the nickname Tunnan (Barrel). Five series versions of this fighter were made; the last of them being the F-29F. This model - complemented by four squadrons of the British aircraft Hawker Hunter - remained as the main aircraft in the Swedish Air Force until well into the 1960s. It entered action limitedly in the crisis of Congo in 1962-63; 11 aircraft were sent there, with the F 22 Fighter Squadron, being part of the pacification forces of United Nations. The J-29 was the first Swedish combat aircraft that was exported, being delivered some of them to the Austrian Air Force.

Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

The SAAB J-21R was the turbojet version of the J-21; it was propelled by one turbojet engine De Havilland Ghost with a thrust of 2265 kilograms, but it was not an efficient aircraft, achieving a maximum speed of 805 kilometers/hour. Wingspan: 11.36 meters; length: 10.45 meters; weight: 4983 kilograms; armament: one 20-millimeter cannon and four 12.7-millimeter machine guns.

Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

The SAAB J-29A, propelled by one turbojet engine De Havilland Ghost with a thrust of 2265 kilograms, reached a maximum speed of 1023 kilometers/hour. Wingspan: 11 meters; length: 10.10 meters; weight: 5436 kilograms; armament: four 20-millimeter cannons.

In the autumn 1946, SAAB started to study a project for a new turbojet attack aircraft for the Swedish Air Force. Two years later, the Swedish Air Council authorized the production of a prototype denominated P 1150. This aircraft, later renamed A-32 Lansen, flew for the first time the 3rd November 1952, fitted with a turbojet engine Rolls-Royce Avon RA7R. Three more prototypes were made; one of them surpassed Mach 1 in a short swooping the 25th October 1953. To the attack variant A-32A followed the two-seater all-weather fighter J-32B, which flew for the first time in January 1957. It was propelled by a turbojet engine RM6 - a Rolls-Royce Avon RA28 built under licence - and was equipped with better armament, navigation devices and fire control. However, the J-32B was in good part a provisional aircraft, filling a gap until the arrival of the much more powerful SAAB J-35 Draken. Projected from the beginning to intercept supersonic bombers at any altitude and in every weather condition, the Draken surely was, when it entered into service, the best integrated system for aerial defense in Western Europe. The first of the three prototypes of this unique fighter built with delta wings flew for the first time the 25th October 1955; the first series version, the J-35A, entered service in the early 1960s. The most important series version of the Draken was the J-35F, which was practically projected around the air-to-air radar-guided missile Hughes HM-55 Falcon; it had an improved fire control system "at collision course" S7B, a data processing system of great capacity that integrated the aircraft with the air defense system STRIL 60, an infrared sensor under the nose and a search and scope radar PS-016. Around 600 aircraft Draken were produced, with which 17 Swedish squadrons were equipped; this model was also exported to Denmark and Finland.

Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

SAAB J-32B Lansen, two-seater all-weather fighter. This was the first Swedish fighter capable of supersonic speed.

Swedish fighter aircraft 1940-60

SAAB J-35F Draken with the markings of the 10th Fighter Wing of the Swedish Air Force, based in Angelhom, in the southern military region of Sweden. The J-35F was a first attempt from SAAB to build an integrated weapons system. This Draken differentiates from previous versions in its more potent radar Ericsson PS-01, a SAAB S7B fire control system "at collision course", an automatic pilot FH5 and a zero-zero ejection seat (usable at zero altitude and zero speed). The larboard cannon was suppressed to gain room for avionics.

Specifications for A/J-32 Lansen

Type: All-weather strike/fighter aircraft

Propulsion plant: One Svenska Flygmotor RM6A (Rolls-Royce Avon RA28 built under licence) of 6890 kilograms of thrust

Maximum speed: 1114 kilometers/hour

Weight (empty): 7990 kilograms

Weight (maximum): 13529 kilograms

Wingspan: 13 meters

Length: 14.50 meters

Height: 4.65 meters

Armament: Four ADEN 30-millimeter cannons; four hardpoints for Sidewinder air-to-air missiles or unguided rockets

Specifications for J-35F Draken

Type: All-weather fighter aircraft

Propulsion plant: One Svenska Flygmotor RM6C (Rolls-Royce Avon 300 built under licence) of 7830 kilograms of thrust with afterburner

Maximum speed at an altitude of 11000 meters: 2125 kilometers/hour

Service ceiling: 20000 meters

Range (without external deposits): 560 kilometers

Weight (empty): 7425 kilograms

Weight (maximum): 12700 kilograms

Wingspan: 9.40 meters

Length: 15.35 meters

Height: 3.89 meters

Wing area: 49.20 square meters

Armament: One ADEN M/55 30-millimeter cannon in the starboard wing; two missiles Falcon RB 27 or RB 28; up to 1000 kilograms of bombs or 12 Bofors 135-millimeter rockets

Categories: Aircraft - Aviation - 20th Century - [General] - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2014-12-03

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