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SAAB J-35 Draken

saab-j35-1


Not long after it had given a go-ahead for development and production of the Saab-32, the Swedish air force began to draw up its specification for a new single-seat fighter that would be able to intercept bombers flying in the transonic speed range. The new type was going to need supersonic speed capability, an unprecedented rate of climb, above, average range and endurance, and a considerable weapon load. It was required to have STOL (short take-off and landing) characteristics to allow for its deployment from a variety of dispersed sites.

Saab began work on this requirement in August 1949, selecting a wing of double-delta configuration that promised great structural integrity with low weight and which, if it performed satisfactorily, would provide the volume needed for the equipment, fuel and weapons demanded by its primary role. The capability of such a wing was confirmed by wind tunnel testing of models and by the Saab-210 small-scale research aircraft, powered by a 476kg thrust Armstrong Siddeley Adder turbojet. First flown on 21 February 1952, the Saab-210 confirmed that there were no particular problems in the handling of the double-delta wing, and following inspection of a wooden mock-up the company received an order for three Saab-35 prototypes. Features of the design included fully-powered controls, a combination of bag and integral fuel tanks, and retractable tricycle landing gear complemented by two retractable tail wheels, an arrangement permitting a tail-down landing to gain the full aerodynamic braking effect of the wing. Such a landing, combined with the use of a braking parachute, makes possible a landing run as short as 610m.

Erik Bratt achieved fame as the designer of the Saab Draken. The first batch of final drawings was issued by the design team (which finally numbered 200) in 1953 and the plane began to take shape towards the end of 1954.
 
The mid-set wigs are a double delta with 80 degrees sweepback on the inner wings and 57 degrees on the outer wings. Elevons on the wing trailing-edges are made up of two inboard and two outboard surfaces. The main wheels retract outward into the wings and the nosewheel retracts forward.
 
The J35 finally made its first flight on 25 Octo­ber 1955, piloted by Bengt Olow. The other two in early 1956.


The first prototype was not equipped with an afterburner. The three prototypes were powered by Rolls-Royce Avon engines of the Series 200 model, but Svenska Flygmotor acquired a licence to build the engine in Sweden and it was these units which powered production aircraft, the first of which flew in February 1958. The Svenska-produced engines, with a Swedish developed afterburner, were given the desig-nation RM6, and the B model, which powered the first production Draken, the J35A, was rated at 6890 kg (15 190 lb) of static thrust with augmentation. The first to feature the RM6B unintentionally broke the sound barrier (while climbing) during its maiden flight. 

 

Saa-35A-Dra
SAAB 35A Draken

 

Relatively minor changes were made as a result of flight development, the most noticeable being the addition of a cockpit transparency to give the pilot a better view, and the extension of the extreme aft fuselage and jetpipe to reduce drag. The type was ordered into production during 1956, and the first series-built J 35A Draken (dragon) was flown on 15 February 1958, and the first J35As joined Flygflottilj 13 operational squadron at Norrkoping in March 1960. Before they were armed and equipped with radar they were used as single seat trainer. The usual basic armament of these interceptors was four Sidewinder infrared seeking missiles, designated Rb324 in Sweden, although provision was made for three under-fuselage hard-points and four more under each wing. A 30-mm (1.18-in) Aden cannon was mounted in each wing.

By the time the J35A entered service, the first J35B had already flown. The 35B prototype was flown for the first time on 29 November 1959 and was being used to test the new Saab S7 collision-course fire-control radar. The production model was equipped with sophisticated fire-control equipment for mounting collision-course offensives in coordination with the Swedish-built STRIL 60 air-defense system. In January 1960, what had started as a low-supersonic aircraft with simple engine intakes reached Mach 2 for the first time. Some J35Bs were built from new, others converted from J35As.

The J 35B had improved ejection seat and control systems, and was equipped with the longer afterburner, like the final J 35As.

The training version (35C) a modified 35A with the radar equipment and armament removed to make it a twin-seater, made its inaugural flight on 30 December 1959. The 35C had an entirely new forward fuselage with dual seating, twin ejection seats, and full instrument panels for instructor and student and designated Sk-35C with the Swedish Air Force (Sk stands for Skol or Trainer). Many more As were also converted later to tandem two-seat and unarmed train-ers. The 35C variant was based on the J 35A with the short afterburner.

 

drakenj35


Equipped with the completely new Rolls-Royce RB Series 300 Avon engine with an afterburner, the 35D became the first Draken to reach Mach 2. The combined D/E pro-totype made its first flight on 27 December 1960. In most respects similar to the B, but was powered by a Series 300 Avon with the Swedish designation RM6C. The thrust was now 5801 kg (12 790 lb) dry and 8006 kg (17 650 lb) with afterburner, and maximum gross weight of the aircraft rose accordingly, most of it being taken up with additional internal fuel. The RM6C engine required the engine intakes to be extended forward.

Flying for the first time on 27 June 1963, the Saab S35E is a variant optimized for the tactical reconnaissance role and able to perform low-, medium- or high-altitude reconnaissance by day or night. Essentially similar to the J35D fighter, the S35E features a battery of forward-facing, vertical and oblique cameras in a redesigned nose section, the entire outer shell of which slides forward to permit rapid access and thus facilitate removal and replacement of camera magazines. These were replaced by British external pods in 1973. The two forward looking cameras in the wings replacing the internal guns.

Entering service with the Swedish air force's Flygflottilj 11 in the mid1960s, the S3SE served as the Flygvapen reconnaissance workhorse although it was largely supplanted by a version of the Viggen. Some 60 examples of the S35E were produced, this figure being fairly evenly split between new-build airframes and reconfigured J35Ds, whilst a further 20 reconnaissance Drakens were produced for the Royal Danish air force (forming part of the total of 52 Drakens acquired by Denmark in the early 1970s) and being known by the designation RF35 in that country's service with a full camera nose with provision for up to five 0MERA cameras. In company parlance, the machines are known as the S35SD, the basic Saab 35X being a derivative of the definitive J35F interceptor earmarked for the export market.

The most numerous variant ordered was the J35F, a prototype converted from a D model which made its first flight in late 1965. It was a considerable step-up in weapon- system performance, introducing an Ericsson-produced Hughes pulse-Doppler radar, completely automatic fire control and Hughes Falcon air-to-air missiles in both infrared and radar seeking versions and revised canopy.

The first two Drakens modified to J35J standard were handed over to the Swedish Air Force on March 3, 1987. The update programme was designed to maintain the Draken’s effectiveness until the mid-1990s, and up to 64 aircraft were to be converted. Based on the J35F version, the J35J modification and life extension programme includes an extensive system update with a modified radar, an improved infrared seeker, and IFF equipment. Two additional stores pylons are fitted, allow-ing additional weapons or auxiliary fuel tanks to be carried. The conversion programme was due to be completed by 1989.

 

 



Saab also developed the Draken for export, under the designation Saab-35X, with increased fuel capacity, up to a normal 4000 litres (880 gal), and a higher gross weight to allow the carriage of heavier external loads of 4500 kg (9920 lb). The maximum overload takeoff weight is nearly double the gross weight of the early-model Drakens.

The first customer was Denmark, receiving 20 aircraft known as the A 35XD (similar to the Swedish J 35F), but becoming the F-35 once in service with the Kongelige Danske Flyvevabnet (Danish air force). Based on the J 35F but was upgraded with more internal fuel, stronger gear, arrester hook, improved avionics and cockpit layout, new weapon pylons which resulted in redesigned outer wings. Later F-35s were equipped with IR sensor in the nose. The 20 RF 35 (Saab S 35XD) is a variant of the Swedish S 35E photo-reconnaissance Draken, no longer in service. Eventually 11 Sk 35XD (TF-35) two-seat trainers were also delivered. Denmark's last Draken squadron, operating all three versions of the aircraft. Delivered in 1970 and remaining in service until 1993.

The second export customer was Finland which received 12 J 35XS (Swedish J 35F-2) fighters, five J 35CS (Swedish Sk 35C) trainers and finally 24 J 35FS zero-timed ex-Flygvapnet J 35F single-seaters, more or less upgraded to J 35J standard with a better countermeasures suite. A single unit, 'Lapland Wing', flew the aircraft in the 1980s.
In 1985 Austria ordered 24 Drakens (ex-Swedish J35Ds rebuilt 1964-65) designated J35ÖE equipped with bulged canopies, RWR, and chaff-flare dispensers. Austria became the fourth Draken operator with the delivery of its aircraft in the mid-1980s. Twenty-three J 35 ÖE s (reworked Swedish J 35Ds) serve as the nation's primary air defence fighter. Austria acquired 24 aircraft in 1985, with deliveries in 1987-1989.

After having operated the Draken for 17 years, Austria finally retired the last nine Drakens from operational service in November 2005. Just prior to the retirement, the Draken celebrated its 50 year anniversary.
Sixty J 35J and 12 Sk 35C two-seat trainers remained in service with F10's four squadrons at Angelholm, in southern Sweden. Serving as pure interceptors, the J 35J 'Johanns' were to be retained until 1995 at least.

Replaced in Swedish service by the Saab 37 Viggen, a total of 644 Drakens were built, including 12 at the Valmet plant in Finland.

 

Gallery

 

35A
Engine: RM6B Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 200 (10472-13977 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft l0.75 in)
Wing area: 538.2 sq.ft
Length: 15.2 m (49 ft 10.5 in)
Wheel track: 8 ft 10.5 in
Take-off weight: 9000 kg (19841 lb)
Max speed: 1.8 Mach / 1190 mph at 36,000 ft
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)
ROC: 39,360 fpm
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)
Max altitude: 13000-15000 m (42650-49210 ft)

 

35B
Engine: RM6B Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 200 (10472-13977 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft10.75 in)
Length: 15.34 m (50 ft 4 in)
Take-off weight:    9000 kg  (19841 lb)
Max speed: 1.5 Mach
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)    
Max. altitude: 13000-15000 m  (42650-49210 ft)

35C
Engine: RM6B Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 200 (10472-13977 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft l0.75 in)
Length: 15.2 m (49 ft 10.5 in)
Take-off weight: 9000 kg  (19841 lb)
Max speed: 1.5 Mach
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)  
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)      
Max. altitude: 13000-15000 m (42650-49210 ft)

35D
Engine: RM6C Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 300 (12787-17637 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft 10¾ in)
Length: 15.34 m (50 ft 4 in)
Take-off weight:    12500 kg (27557 lb)
Max speed: 2+ Mach
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)
Max. altitude: 13000-15000 m (42650-49210 ft)

35E
Engine: RM6C Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 300 (12787-17637 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft 10.75 in)
Length: 15.34 m (50 ft 4 in)
Take-off weight:    12500 kg (27557 lb)
Max speed: 2+ Mach
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)
Max. altitude: 13000-15000 m (42650-49210 ft)

35F
Engine: RM6C Svenska Flygmotor/Rolls-Royce Avon 300 (12787-17637 lbs)
Span: 9.42 m (30 ft 10¾ in)
Length: 15.34 m (50 ft 4 in)
Height: 12.762 ft / 3.89 m
Wing area: 529.589 sqft / 49.2 sq.m
Take-off weight:    12500 kg (27557 lb)
Weight empty: 16817.5 lb / 7627.0 kg
Max speed: 2+ Mach / 1147 kts / 2125 km/h
Cruising speed: 0.9 Mach
Landing speed: 300 kph (186 mph)
Range: 1375-2750 km (850-1710 sm)
Range (max. weight): 1188 nm / 2200 km
Max. altitude: 13000-15000 m (42650-49210 ft)
Armament: 1 MG 30mm ADEN/90rds, 2x AAM RB27, 2x AAM RB28 Falcon
Crew: 1

J 35J
Powerplant: 1 x Volvo Flygmotor RM6C afterburning turbojet, 79.51 kN (17,650 lb st)
Length: 15.35m (50 ft 4 in)
Height: 3.89m (12 ft 9 in)
Wing span: 9.40m (30 ft 10 in)
Empty, equipped weight: 8,250 kg (18,188 lb)
Max Take-Off Weight 12.270 kg (27,050 lb)
Max level speed clean at 10.975 m (36,000 ft): Mach 2.0+ / 2.126 km/h / 1,321 mph
Armament: one 30mm Aden M/55 cannon with 150 rounds per gun
External load: up to 2,900 kg (6,393 lb) ordnance, up to four auxiliary fuel tanks.

S35E
Powerplant: 1 x Svenska Flygmotor RM6C turbojet, 7760-kg (17,108 lb) afterburning thrust.
Wing span: 9.40 m (30 ft 10 in)
Wing area: 49.20 sq.m (529.6 sq ft)
Length: 15.85 m (52 ft 0 in)
Height: 3.89 m (12 ft 9 in)
Max speed: 2125 kph /1,320 mph / Mach 2. 0
Range int. fuel: 1290 km /800 sm
Max range: 3250 km (2,020 sm)
Empty wt: 8245 kg (18,180 lb)
Max TOW: 16000 kg (35,275 lb)

RF35 / S35SD
Powerplant: 1 x Svenska Flygmotor RM6C turbojet, 7760-kg (17,1081b) afterburning thrust.
Wing span: 9.40 m (30 ft 10 in)
Wing area: 49.20 sq.m (529.6 sq ft)    
Length: 15.85 m (52 ft 0 in)
Height: 3.89 m (12 ft 9 in)
Empty wt: 8245 kg (18,180 lb)
MTOW: 16000 kg (35,275 lb)
Max speed: 2125 kph / 1,320 mph / Mach 2. 0
Range int. fuel: 1290 km (800 sm)
Max range: 3250 km (2,020 sm)

35X
Engine: Volvo Flygmotor, 12,790 lb
Wing span: 39 ft 10 in (9.4 m)
Length: 50 ft 4 in (15.35 m)
Height: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Max TO wt: 33,070 lb (16,000 kg)
Max level speed: M0.2.

saab35-ld

Saab 35 Draken

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folland Gnat

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