Saab 37 Viggen [Thunderbolt] Was Designed And Ready For Action Against Russia

Saab 37 Viggen [Thunderbolt] Was Designed And Ready For Action Against Russia
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The Saab 37 Viggen is a Swedish-made, single-seat, single-engine, short-medium range combat aircraft. Volvo RM8 engine powered Sab 37 has a top speed of 2,231 km/h. It made its first flight on 8th February of 1967.

Even if the Saab S37 was retired back in 2007 it was made to take Russia or the Soviet Union if World War III had broken out in Europe. Even if Sweden was not the only country that could defeat the Soviets in the sky with fighter planes during the cold war, the Saab S37 Viggen or the “Thunderbolt” was made just for that. Sweden was neutral during the cold war, but they always feared they could be a victim of fighting in the air if the enemies invaded Northern Europe. The Viggen was made for giving Sweden better protection in such cases.

Little Bit of History About The Saab S37 Viggen

The Viggen was a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft with a distinctive shape and also featured multi-role capabilities. Development of the aircraft began in 1952 and it had a low double delta wing with canards. As mentioned at the beginning of this article it first flew in 1967 and was given to the Swedish Airforce in 1971. By that time The Saab S37 was ahead in terms of technology when compared with other European Fighter jets.

Varients With Multiple Roles

Different variants of S37 Viggens were made for different types of missions. The SF37 variant was made for reconnaissance missions while another variant the SH37 served the purpose of seeking out ships and destroying them. The version AJ37 was all about the strike fighter role.

Saab SF37 Viggen,

Few Amazing Specifications of the Saab S37 Viggen

The Viggen also could make short take-offs and landings. A Pratt & Whitney model-based Volvo RM 8 turbofan engine of this fighter aircraft had an afterburner and thrust-reversers for a better landing. This engine of the Saab S37 Viggen could deliver a maximum speed of Mach 2.1. It had a range of 1,200 miles and could climb at a rate of 600 feet per second.

The Viggen’s onboard computer was also great and ahead of its time. The computer had integrated air defense systems, controls, and also heads-up displays. It helped reduce the number of crashes and eliminated the need for the back-set navigator.

We can’t forget about its Ericsson PS-37 X radar when talking about Viggen’s specifications. The data provided by the radar in air-to-ground and air-to-air offensive modes made it easier to search and track targets. Later versions of this aircraft had better avionics, electronics, and digital parts improving its capabilities and maneuverability even more.

Its weapon package includes close-in canon and hardpoints for missiles and bombs under the wings and fuselage. It carried short and medium-range air-to-air missiles for combats in the air.

Even though Sweden was neutral there were times that Soviet air forces invaded the Swedish airspace. The Viggen was manned by pilots and flew in all weather during such instances. It could fly multiple sorties every 24 hours.

Under Side of Saab S37 Viggen
Credits: JOCS Russ Egnor, USNR

Saab S37 Has Won American Air Medals

This fighter aircraft has some amazing memories. In 1987 The Sr-71 Blackbird was flying a recon mission from England to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Kaliningrad. Viggen pilots were really interested in intercepting the American ultra-fast recon plane. This incident happened when the Sr-71 lost one of its engines and fell to 25,000 feet and wandered above the Swedish air space. So the Viggen pilots escorted the Blackbird before a wandering soviet fighter came in to play. For the good work of the Saab S37 pilots, they were awarded with American air medals.

The S37 Viggen had served the Swedish Air Force for a long time and have amazing records. Even if this fighter didn’t saw actual combat during cold war it enhanced the Swedish defense in a great way. It is without a doubt one of the greatest fighter aircraft by the Sweden.

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