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Aviation History Month Day 3 - 3rd of November 1951

Some of the Swedish built fighter aircraft, like the Gripen or the Viggen, are well known. One of their predecessors is less well known, the Saab 32 Lansen. It made its first flight on this day in 1951.

A Saab J 32D

The history of the Lansen can be traced back to the last months of 1946 when Saan started studies to develop a new attack aircraft. This was followed in 1948 by a formal request from the Swedish government for a turbojet-powered strike aircraft. The requirements for the aircraft were pretty hard;

  • Be able to reach any part of Swedish coastline (1245 miles - 2000 km) within 1 hour, when scrambled from an airbase in central Sweden

  • Be an all-weather aircraft

  • Be able to operate day and night

Saab's initial proposal was a single-engined aircraft, the project designation was P1150. Saab decided to redesign the P115o. It would be a low wing tandem seat aircraft. Additional it would be the first aircraft for the Swedish Air Force with integral search radar. As a powerplant, the Swedish STAL Dovern was the first choice, but delays in its development made Saab choose the Roll-Royce Avon Series 100 engine as the initial powerplant. Later versions of the Lansen were powered by the more powerful RM6A Avon engine. A total of 8 Saab J 32 variants were developed, an overview;

  • A 32A - 287 built Ground attack and maritime strike version.

  • J 32B - 120 built (incl. 2 prototypes) All weather fighter version

  • S 32C - 45 built Maritime and photo reconnaissance version developed from the A 32A

  • J 32D - 6x J 32B's modified Target towing version

  • J 32E - 14x J 32B's modified Electronic Warfare and Countermeasure version

  • J 32AD - None built Project to develop a day fighter version. Never left the drawingboard. 120 Hawker Hunter bought to full fill the requirement

  • J 32U - None built Project to improve overall performance of the J 32B, with improved wing design and a more powerful engine, the Rolls Royce RA 19R

  • J 32S / J16 - 4 modified J 32B's Snow removal craft, wings and tail were removed with modified exhaust to blast the snow with exhaust gasses. The designation is of this craft is straight forward: J 32S = S for Snö (Snow in Swedish) J16 = Half the aircraft was removed to create the J 32S

The aircraft entered service in 1956 and was only withdrawn from service in 1997 after 41 years of service. A total of 450 aircraft would be built. One aircraft has been restored to flying condition and it participates in airshows. 9 aircraft are on display, 8 in Sweden and 1 in the USA. Specifications for the J 32B: General characteristics

  • Crew: 2

  • Length: 14.94 m (49 ft 0 in)

  • Wingspan: 13 m (42 ft 8 in)

  • Height: 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)

  • Wing area: 37.4 m2 (403 sq ft)

  • Airfoil: NACA 64A010[25]

  • Empty weight: 7,500 kg (16,535 lb)

  • Max takeoff weight: 13,500 kg (29,762 lb)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Svenska Flygmotor RM6A afterburning turbojet engine, 47 kN (11,000 lbf) thrust dry, 65.3 kN (14,700 lbf) with afterburner


  • Maximum speed: 1,200 km/h (750 mph, 650 kn)

  • Range: 2,000 km (1,200 mi, 1,100 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 15,000 m (49,000 ft)

  • Rate of climb: 100 m/s (20,000 ft/min)


  • Guns: 4 × 30 mm ADEN cannons 90 rounds each

  • Rockets: 4 × 75 mm air-to-air rocket pods

  • Missiles: 4 × Rb 24 air-to-air missiles

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