In 1939-1940, the Swedish air force had only a single fighter wing, equipped with 50-60 Gloster Gladiators with the Swedish designation J 8 (J = Jakt, interceptor or fighter). The government decided to equip two new wings and a total of 264 fighters of the types Seversky Republic EP-1 and Vultee Vanguard 48C 1 were ordered in the USA. 60 of the 120 EP-1s were delivered via Petsamo and were given the Swedish designation J 9. In July 1940 all export of fighters from the USA was stopped by a US Government embargo.
An indigenous fighter design was required, but with SAAB busy producing its B17 bomber, Flygforvaitninggens Verkstad (FFVS) was formed and designer Bo Lundberg was appointed to design a machine using non-strategic materials.
The air force chief instructed the aircraft designer Bo Lundberg to start planning for a Swedish made fighter. Lundberg had been in charge of the Swedish Air Commission in USA and before that chief designer of Götaverken's aircraft division during the time they designed the GP 8 bomber which competed with SAAB 18 and the cancelled GP 9 fighter.
When Lundberg returned to Sweden at the end of 1940, he had already started planning for the new fighter. Requirements was that it should use the same engine as EP-1, STWC-3, a Swedish made Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp, should be small and light, be made of components that could be made by a large number of subcontractors. The project was designated P 22 and a temporary air force branch was instituted to run the project, Flygförvaltningens Verkstad i Stockholm (FFVS).
The aircraft was from the outset designed for the Pratt&Whitney Twin Wasp, an American engine not available to Sweden. Even worse, the Severskies using the same engine had been delivered without spare engines so the shortage was really acute!
However, Flygmotor at Trollhättan started an ambitious programme to copy an original Pratt&Whitney Twin Wasp engine - without any drawings or material data at all. Working hard, they almost managed to meet the schedule. In 1942, to compensate for the lag in the engine project, Sweden managed to purchase a batch of 100 engines from the French Vichy regime via Germany. The Swedish-made engines, designated STWC-3, proved very good. One of them was still flying in the late 1980s, now mounted in one of the Swedish Airforce's last flying C-47s.
Since the GV GP 9 was designed to use aluminum, it couldn't be used as a basis for the new fighter, but its landing gear where the wheels were rotated as the were retracted back into the fuselage was used. The landing gear was made to accept skis, but as the air force's ability to clear snow off runways had improved, they never were fitted on J 22.
Since a wooden wing couldn't be made strong enough if it was made thin enough for a fast fighter, so the aircraft was made of steel tubing covered with moulded birch plywood.
The windshield was made either of 6 mm laminated Gemax or acrylic. The center part was 60 mm thick for ballistic protection.
The first prototype of the aircraft which was to be designated J 22 was built in the workshop of Flygtekniska Försöksanstalten (FFA) near Bromma airport, and first flew on September 20,1942, and deliveries began to F9 at Gothenburg in September 1943.
Both protypes crashed, one probably due to oxygen starvation of the pilot, the other due to engine failure during landing.
Of the 17000 component parts, 12000 were made at 500 subcontractors all over Sweden, with final assembly in a hangar at Bromma, except for the final 18 which were assembled at the air force central workshop at Arboga (CVA), which was set up in 1944 to be the central maintenance facility.
198 aircraft were built and delivered 1943-46. Of these the first 143 were of the version J 22A and the rest J 22B. The only difference between them was that J 22A was armed with two 13.2 mm and two 8 mm guns in the wings, and J 22B with four 13.2 mm guns. The sight was a fixed reflex sight.
The J 22 was a light and very manoeuvrable aircraft with good acceleration but when it entered service it was no match for the fighters then current. Tests were made against the P-51 after the war and even if the J 22 could hold its own for a while, especially with a skilled pilot, there is no doubt that the Mustang was the better fighter by a safe margin.
In 1945 J 22A was redesignated J 22-1, J 22B into J 22-2 and S 22 became S 22-3. The last ones were retired in 1952.
Nine J 22A were converted into reconnaissance aircraft in 1946 and redesignated S 22 (S = Spaning, reconnaissance) and converted back into fighters in 1947.
Engine: STWC-3, 1065 hp
Span: 10 m
Length: 7.8 m
Height: 3.6 m
Wing area: 16 sq.m
Empty weight: 2020 kg
Combat weight: 2835 kg
Fuel load:525 litres
Max speed: 575 km/h
Cruise speed: 440 km/h
Landing speed: 140 km/h
Range: 1270 km
Endurance: 2.9 h
Max altitude: 9300 m
Armament: 2 x 13.2 mm + 2 x 8 mm guns or 4 x 13.2 mm