Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget – SAAB

SAAB was founded in 1937 at Trollhättan, western Sweden by the Bofors AB and Electrolux companies. The new company later merged with the aircraft division of railway company ASJA, Aktiebolaget Svenska Järnvägsverkstäders Aeroplansavdelning, at Linköping, central southern Sweden, and the headquarters soon moved to that city.

The first aircraft to be both designed and constructed entirely by SAAB was the B17. This was a single-engined dive bomber, built entirely of aluminium. The first B17 prototype flew on May 18, 1940, and the first production aircraft was delivered in December 1941. This model was built in three different versions, each having different engines. The aircraft could be equipped with wheels, skids or floats for landing on water. In addition to bombing, it could also be used for reconnaissance, with the designation S17.  Altogether 325 B17s were manufactured, including two prototypes. These served in the Swedish Air Force from 1941 until 1955.Between 1947 and 1953 the Air Force sold a total of 46 second-hand, and also completely refurbished B17As to Ethiopia in four tranches.

Some B17 data:
Engine: 1,065 hp STWC-3
Crew: 2
Length: 9.8 m
Wingspan: 13.7 m
Max weight: 4,200 kg
Max speed: 444 km/h
Max flight time: 6.8 hours
Ceiling:: 28,500 feet
Max bomb load: 500 kg

The next aircraft to be wholly designed and built by SAAB was the B18. This was a twin-engined medium bomber. The first prototype first flew on June 19, 1942 and the first production aircraft was delivered in January 1944. This type was in service until May 1959. The B18 was built in two versions, the B18A and B18B. The difference between them was the choice of engine. They were used both as a bomber and also a reconnaissance aircraft, designated S18A; in addition as a torpedo-bomber as the T18B. IN all 237 were built, including three prototypes.

Some B18 data:
Engine: Daimler Benz DB 605
Crew: 3
Length: 13.23 m
Wingspan: 17.04 m
Max weight: 8,793 kg
Max speed: 590 km/h
Max range: 2,600 km
Ceiling: 32,000 feet
Max bomb load: 1,400 kg

 J 21
The SAAB 21 had and unusual design. Instead of the usual cylindrical fuselage it had two booms extending from the wings to support the tail. A pusher propeller was located between the booms. The engine position was directly behind the pilot. The first flight of a J 21 took place on July 30, 1943, and aircraft began deliveries to squadrons on December 1, 1945. These aircraft served the Swedish Air Force until July 1954. Apart from serving as fighters, a number of J 21s were used for ground attack, as the J 21A. In total 298 were built. The J 21 was the first Swedish aircraft to be equipped with an ejection seat, which was necessary due to the propeller being located behind the pilot, who would have been cut to pieces if he simply jumped out of the aircraft.

Some J 21 date:
Engine: Daimler Benz DB 605
Crew: 1
Length: 10.45 m
Wingspan: 11.6 m
Max weight: 5 200 kg
Max speed: 650 km/h
Max range: 750 km
Ceiling: 33,500 feet
Max bomb load: 700 kg (A 21)

J 21R
The J 21R was the first jet aircraft to be built in Sweden. It was a development of the piston engine driven J 21A, whereby the DB 605-engine was replaced by a de Havilland Goblin turbojet. Although the J 21R appeared to be very similar to the J 21A, the change of engine required extensive alterations. The J 21R first flew on March 10, 1947. The first aircraft went into service at No. 10 Wing, Ängelholm, in August 1950. It was soon discovered that the performance was too poor for use as a fighter, so that all the J 21R aircraft were converted for ground attack as the A 21R. Altogether no more than 64 J 21Rs were built. The last A 21R was withdrawn from service in 1956.

Some J 21R data:
Engine: de Havilland Goblin turbojet
Crew: 1
Length: 10.55 m
Wingspan: 11.37 m
Max weight: 5.615 kg
Max speed: 930 km/h
Max range: 450 km without extra tanks
Ceiling: 40,000 feet
Max load: 10 x 14.5 cm rockets (A 21R)

SAAB 91 Safir
At the end of the Second World War it was feared at SAAB that military orders would be severely cut back. This led to the design of a “people’s aircraft” that could be used for “sport aviation” or as a trainer. The first flight of a Safir took place on November 20, 1945. However SAAB’s fears were not realized. Its own production capacity would soon be fully utilized to build the J 29 Tunnan, so that manufacture of the Safir would have to be subcontracted out to De Schelde in the Netherlands. The Safir came to be made in several different versions. These differed in accordance with engine variations and the number of occupants. The Safir served as a training aircraft in several different Air Forces, as well as widespread civilian use. A total of 323 Safirs were built between 1946 and 1966. From 1952 to 1992 this type was employed by the Swedish Air Force, initially as a trainer and later as a liaison and general purpose aircraft. Quite a number of Safirs remain airworthy in the hands of civilian owners in Sweden.

Some SAAB 91C Safir data:
Engine: 190 hp 6 cyl. Lycoming
Crew: 1 + 3 passengers
Length: 7.9 m
Wingspan: 10.6 m
Max weight: 1,215 kg
Max speed: 325 km/h

J 29 Tunnan (“Flying Barrel”)
The SAAB Model 29 was one of the world’s first swept wing aircraft. This design was based on German research gained by SAAB from German engineers who had fled to Switzerland at the end of the Second World War. The aircraft first flew on September 1, 1948. The first production aircraft went to No. 13 Wing, Bråvalla, near Norrköping in southern Sweden, in 1951. The Tunnan was primarily intended to be a jet fighter, but eventually also took on the roles of ground attack and reconnaissance. Its performance was comparable to its Soviet and American contemporaries, the MiG-15 and F-86 Sabre, which, like the Tunnan, had been design-led by German high speed aircraft research. In 1954 and 1955 Tunnan aircraft set two world speed records. This type remained in Swedish Air Force service until 1976. 30 second-hand but completely renovated J 29F aircraft were sold to Austria, where they were in service from 1961 to 1972. In total 661 were built.

Some J 29F data:
Engine: DH Ghost
Crew: 1
Length: 10.23 m
Wingspan: 11.0 m
Max weight: 8,375 kg
Ceiling: 50,000 feet
Max speed: 1,075 km/h
Range: 1,100 km

A 32A Lansen (“Lance”)
The SAAB 32 Lansen was from the outset primarily intended for ground attack, to replace the B18 and attack versions of the Vampire, Tunnan and J 21. The Lansen prototype first flew on November 3, 1952. Later separate versions were built as reconnaissance and interceptor aircraft. The first A 32A was delivered to the Swedish Air Force in December 1955, and this type remained in service until 1978. Altogether 450 were built, including prototypes. One Lansen is still maintained in airworthy condition by the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight at No. 7 Wing, Såtenäs, east of Gothenburg; this is a J 32B.

Some A 32ª data:
Engine: Rolls Royce Avon (RM5A)
Crew: 2
Length: 14.94 m
Wingspan: 13.0 m
Max weight: 13,600 kg
Ceiling: 50,000 feet
Max speed: 1,125 km/h
Range: 1,000 km
Max load: 3,000 kg

J 35 Draken (“Kite”)
The J 35 was designed to replace the J 29, J 32 and J 34 as a Swedish Air Force interceptor. The first flight took place on October 25, 1955, and the first production aircraft was delivered to No. 13 Wing at Norrköping in the spring of 1960. Apart from its use as an interceptor, some S 35E reconnaissance aircraft were produced along with 2-seat Sk 35C trainers, to acquaint new pilots to the type. J 35s served in the Swedish Air Force up to 1999, with a total of 644 Drakens built in the different versions, both for home and for export. Exported Drakens went to till Finland, Denmark and Austria. These were both new-built airframes from SAAB and refurbished Swedish Air Force examples. Today there are two airworthy Drakens in the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight at No. 7 Wing, Såtenäs, one J 35J and a 2-seat SK 35C.

Some J 35F data:
Engine: Rolls Royce Avon (RM6C)
Crew: 1
Length: 15.34 m
Wingspan: 9.42 m
Max weight: 12,400 kg
Ceiling: 65,600 feet
Max speed: Mach 2
Range: approx. 850 km

SAAB 105
The SAAB Model 105, i called the Sk 60 by the Swedish Air Force, is a twin-engined high-wing training aircraft that may also be used in the light ground attack and reconnaissance roles. The SAAB 105 flew for the first time on June 29, 1963. In April 1966 the first production Sk 60 arrived at No. 5 Wing, Ljungbyhed in the south of Sweden where the type was initially used for advanced flying training. Basic training was performed using the Sk 61 Scottish Aviation Bulldog. Today basic flying training is carried out at No. 3 Wing at Malmslätt, Linköping, with students beginning directly on the Sk 60. Versions of the SAAB 105 were made for either 2 pilots with ejection seats, or for 4 occupants without ejection seats. Altogether 192 were built, including 2 test aircraft. 150 Sk 60s went to the Swedish Air Force and 40 of the Model 105Ö for export to Austria. The SAAB 105Ö version had a more powerful engine than the Sk 60 and was used by Austria as a training, ground attack and fighter aircraft.

Some Sk 60 data:
Engine: Turboméca Aubisque (RM9)
Crew: 2 or 4
Length: 10.8 m
Wingspan: 9.5 m
Max weight: 4,150 kg
Max speed: 770 km/h

SAAB 37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt”)
The SAAB 37 Viggen was primarily intended to replace the A 32A Lansen as a ground attack aircraft, designated by the Swedish Air Force as the AJ 37, but also with the capability of interception. The first Viggen flew on February 8, 1967, and the first production aircraft was delivered to No. 7 Wing at Såtenäs in July 1971. The Viggen was later developed into new versions for other principal applications than ground attack. These were the SK 37, a 2-seat trainer intended to familiarize new pilots with the Viggen, the SH 37, for general and maritime reconnaissance, the SF 37, a photographic reconnaissance variant and the JA 37, which although being primarily an interceptor was also a ground attack aircraft. The last flight of a Viggen in active service was to take part in a disbandment ceremony at No, 21 Wing, Luleå in the north of Sweden on November 25, 2005. After being withdrawn from active service a number of Viggens were however flown at the Aviation Testing Centre right up to June 26, 2007. There are at present two airworthy Viggens at the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight, located at No. 7 Wing, Såtenäs. These are an AJS 37 and a 2-seat SK 37. A total of 329 Viggens were built. Despite a number of attempts to sell the Viggen abroad, none were ever exported.

Some JA 37 data:
Engine: P&W JT8D (RM8B)
Crew: 1
Length: 16.4 m
Wingspan: 10.6 m
Max weight: 20 tons
Ceiling: 60,000 feet
Max speed: Mach 2.1
Range: 2,000 km (max fuel)
Max load: 3.6 tons (AJ 37)

JAS 39 Gripen (“Griffin”)
The Gripen is a single-engined multi-role aircraft capable of interception, ground attack and reconnaissance, hence its Swedish Air Force designation as the JAS 39 (jakt- attack and spaning). The Swedish Parliament made the decision to construct a replacement for the Viggen in 1982, and the first prototype flew on December 9, 1988. The first production Gripen entered active service on June 9, 1996. Gripens have been built in single and two-seat versions. Versions A and C are single-seaters, while B and D have 2 seats. Versions C and D are also equipped for air-to-air refuelling. In addition to the Swedish Air Force, Gripens are also in service in South Africa, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Thailand and Brazil. So far about 245 have been built, although that number is bound to increase, as manufacture and development are continuing.

Some JAS 39 data:
Engine: Volvo Aero RM12
Crew: 1 or 2
Length: 14.1 m (A and C)
Wingspan: 8.4 m
Max weight: 14,000 kg (C/D)
Ceiling: 54,000 feet
Max speed: Mach 2
Range: 1,500 – 3,000 km
Max load: 5,300 kg (C/D)

The MFI company was founded in the south of Sweden at Båstad, as the Svenska Kanotverkstaden (Swedish Canoe Workshop). As the name suggests, its main business was the construction of canoes. However in 1937 it was decided to start building gliders. The actual workshop was too small in which to build aircraft, so the company moved to Halmstad, and at the same time changed its name to AB Svenska Kano Verken. Canoes were still the main product, but sailplanes and gliders gradually took over greater parts of the business. Due to this, the business was reorganised at the end of 1941 and its name changed to AB Flygindustri. (Not to be confused with the AB Flygindustri company that between 1925 and 1936 built Junkers-designed aircraft at Limhamn). In 1945 the company was bought by Kockums and moved to Bulltofta under the name of Kockums Flygindustri. In 1952 it was bought by Förenade Bil and changed name yet again to Malmö Flygindustri, usually abbreviated to MFI. In 1968 MFI was bought by SAAB to become SAAB-MFI.

The SAAB-MFI 9B is a single-engined high-winged 2-seat aircraft. It was designed to be used as a sports aircraft and trainer, both civilian and military. Examples of the MFI-9B were used by Swedish mercenary pilot Count Carl-Gustav von Rosen as light ground attack aircraft during the war in Biafra in 1969. In all 70 MFI-9s and MFI-9Bs were made in Malmö, and a further 208 by Bölkow in Germany. Of the more developed version, the SAAB-MFI 15/17, about 100 have been produced by SAAB, and about 460 under licence in Pakistan. Manufacturing is still taking place in Pakistan with the aircraft being named Mushsak.

Some MFI-9B data
Engine: 100 hp RR Continental
Crew: 2
Length: 5.8 m
Wingspan: 7.4 m
Ceiling: 15,000 feet
Max speed: 240 km/h