From the first deliveries of the Saab 17 bomber and reconnaissance aircraft in 1942, Saab (Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget) was to become the major supplier of military aircraft to the Swedish Air Force and remains so to this day.
Its innovative approach to aircraft design has kept the company at the cutting edge of aviation from its first jet fighter, the J29, which set world speed records in 1954.
The fighter and fighter bomber line developed into the J32 Lansen, through the double delta of the J35 Draken and the hugely powerful canard J37 Viggen to today’s highly manoeuvrable and successful J39 Gripen. Aside from the Swedish air force, these unique aircraft have also been sold to several other countries.
The company has also been successful in the civil market, producing the Saab 340 and 2000 twin turboprop airliners. The Saab 340 has also been produced in a military Airborne Early Warning and Control version, equipped with a powerful radar mounted over the cabin.
2012 marked the 75th anniversary of the Swedish aerospace giant, so this issue of Aviation Classics is dedicated to telling the full story of the company, its innovators and its aircraft.
Author: Tim Callaway