Sweden is an aeronautically unique country. After WW II, the military realized that it needed better equipment to protect the nation, so beginning in 1946, the Air Force became one of the world’s largest operators of the most state-of-the-art fighter available, the P-51 Mustang. However, while doting over what were probably the most pristine Mustangs in existence, the Swedes started the first of many programs to develop their own jet trainers and fighters that would fit their fairly unusual needs. They are a very proud, nationalistic country and want to be self-dependent when it comes to their protection. Even their infantry rifle, the AK5, is their interpretation of the FN FNC modified to their needs and environment.
Saab (Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolag, Swedish Aircraft Factory) had been building aircraft since 1938, but branched out into commercial aircraft after the war and began building a successful line of automobiles. In the 1950s, the company gained experience in building a series of jet trainers and unique fighters including, the well-known, and well-respected Draken. The Saab 37 Viggen, although initially envisioned as a ground attack machine to replace the Saab Lansen, quickly took over the Draken’s role as a fighter/interceptor.
Read the article from the October 2015 issue of Flight Journal, click here.