5 Swedish Jet Fighters
Saab J 29 Tunnan – First taking flight on 1 September 1948, it was dubbed Flygande Tunnan (The Flying Barrel). It was the second jet powered aircraft manufactured by Saab for the Swedish Air Force after the Saab 21R. Aside from its stout and ungainly appearance, the J29 was a fast and agile design with its single Volvo Aero RM2B turbojet engine allowing it a maximum speed at 1,060 km/h (660 mph). It was introduced into active service in fighter and bomber roles in 1950 with the Swedish Air Force and Austrian Air Force as primary users. It was retired in 1976 with 661 units built.
Saab J 32 Lansen - With first flight on 3 November 1952, the J 32 Lansen (The Lance) entered active service with the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) 3 years later. It served in a fighter, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and target tug roles with 450 built. With seating for a crew of two, it was powered by a single Svenska Flygmotor RM6A afterburning turbojet giving it a maximum speed of 1,200 km/h (745 mph). Although retired in 1997, two types remain in active service for research in collaboration with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. During the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Finland in April 2010, a type took volcanic samples for study with flights taken in April and May.
Saab J 35 Draken – First taking flight on 25 October 1955, the J35 was a Swedish fighter aircraft manufactured by Saab to replace the J29. The unique “double delta” design configuration made this fighter truly distinct from other advance fighter designs of the period and simply isolates Swedish own technology from Western counterparts. Dogfighting was not part of this aircraft’s capability but it turned out that its quick turn capability made her a very capable fighter. Powered by a single Volvo Flygmotor RM 6C afterburning turbojet, this aircraft broke the sound barrier without intention while initiating a climb on its first flight. It was introduced in March 1960 with Sweden, Austria, Finland, and Denmark as primary users having 210 built. The last batch of these aircraft was retired back in 2005.
Saab J 37 Viggen – The J 37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt” in English) took to the air first time in 8 February 1967. It had been designed around an attack, fighter and reconnaissance capability. It entered active service on June 1971 with only the Swedish Air Force as primary user. Saab’s failure of marketing the aircraft outside Sweden was rooted to the Swedish government’s strict controls on arms exports to undemocratic countries. Powered by a single Volvo RM8B afterburning turbofan giving it a maximum speed of Mach 2.1 (2,231 km/h; 1,386 mph) 329 units were built which were all retired in 2005.
Saab JAS 39 Gripen – Taking flight on 9 December 1988, the JAS 39 Gripen (“Griffin” in English) is still on active service with Sweden, Czech, Hungary and South Africa as primary users (Thailand awaits being added to the list awaiting her order). The aircraft represents Saab’s lead in aviation technology and design following decades of experience in aircraft manufacture. The JAS 39 was built as a lightweight multirole fighter powered by a single Volvo Aero RM12 afterburning turbofan giving it a maximum speed at Mach 2 (2,470 km/h, 1,372 mph).
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