Air Weapons

Saab

Saab 35 Draken

The remarkable Saab 35 Draken (Dragon) was Sweden's first attempt at developing a substantially supersonic fighter and upon its introduction was considered by many to be the finest interceptor in the world. The original Flygvapen requirement called for performance up to 50 percent superior to contemporary foreign fighters and would also begin Saab's penchant for unconventional airframe designs, in this case a double-delta configuration with a crancked leading edge allowing ample space for fuel and weapons as well as the ability to operate from small runways (a traditional requirement for many Swedish aircraft given the likelihood for deployment in remote regions). Over time, this futuristic aircraft was upgraded with more modern avionics and weapons which allowed them to remain in service well into the 1990s (three decades after being introduced) before being replaced by JAS 39 Gripens. Export customers include Finland, Denmark and Austria.

The innovative double-delta configuration was initially tested on the scaled-down Saab 210 before the maiden flight of the prototype on 25 October 1955. Prototypes were equipped with imported Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets, these were substituted by a Volvo-produced copy in the production J 35A and later in the J 35B which also had a lengthened fuselage with retractable twin tailwheels. The J 35D incorporated a more powerful engine as well as newer avionics and served as a precursor to the J 35F with a Hughes weapon system composed of a pulse-doppler radar, automatic fire control system and Falcon air-to-air missiles. The ultimate interceptor variant was the J 35J which came with an improved radar, navigation system and electronic sensors (IR, IFF); most remaining Viggens were eventually upgraded to this standard. Non-combat models include the Sk 35C two-seat trainer and the S 35E reconnaissance aircraft. Lastly, specialized export versions were provided to Denmark as the J 35XD, to Finalnd as the J 35XS, and to Austria as the J 35O.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignJ 35F
NameDraken
TypeFighter
Year1965
Crew1
Dimensions
Length15.34 m
Height3.89 m
Wing Span9.42 m
Wing Area49.2 m²
Weight
Empty7,865 kg
Maximum16,000 kg
Wing Loading325.1 kg/m²
Performance
SpeedMach 2.0
Ceiling19,800 m
Range3,750 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x RM6C
Volvo Flygmotor
8,000 kgf
Thrust/Weight0.92
Armament
Guns1 x 30-mm
Payload2,900 kg
Hardpoints6
AA WeaponsRb-24
Rb-27
Rb-28
Production
Built230
Total607