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In the late 1930s, ASJA and Saab in Trollhättan (operating under the joint title of AB Förenade Flygverkstäder) competed with each other to build a reconnaissance aircraft for the Swedish Air Force. Although the order went to ASJA, its activities were taken over by Saab in early 1939 and Aircraft 17 became exclusively a Saab project.

Developed in close collaboration with American engineers, the aircraft was a mid-wing monoplane equipped with retractable landing gear. The SAAB B17 was first designed as a reconnaissance aircraft but was mainly used as a dive-bomber.

Production was under Swedish direction, the Americans being responsible for the drafting work.
The first test flight took place on 18 May 1940, six months after the end of the American involvement in the project. Not unexpectedly, teething troubles were encountered - the cockpit canopy blew off, spin was difficult to correct and the engine stalled in a right-hand spin. However, when the Air Force came to test the plane, they found that “the aircraft and its equipment are of a generally excellent standard”.

Following the first flight the company made the proposal that its development as a bomber should be given consideration by the Flygvapen. Evaluation of the prototype led to the aircraft being developed for this role as well as for reconnaissance.


In 1940, the Swedish Air Force ordered 322 aircraft that were delivered in the period December 1941 - 1944.




Five versions were developed out of the basic SAAB B17. A cantilever mid-wing monoplane with retractable tail-wheel landing gear, the Saab-17 had its crew accommodated beneath a long continuous canopy. Powerplant varied, the B17A dive-bomber having the 794kW / 1065 hp Svenska Flygmotor-built Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC3G Twin Wasp radial. A light bomber, the B 17A armament consisted of two fixed 8 mm machine-guns m/22 in the wings and a moveable 8 mm machine-gun at the observers place behind the pilot. A bomb-load of 500 kg could be carried. 132 SAAB B 17A were manufactured.

The B17B dive-bomber and similar S17B (equipped for the reconnaissance role) powered by the 731kW Swedish-built Bristol Pegasus XXIV radial, and the B17C dive-bomber (which differed from the B17B only in its engine, the Piaggio P.XIbis). Included in the total production were 38 examples of the S17BS, a maritime patrol version of the B17B on twin floats. Many of the landplane versions were later given retractable ski landing gear for operation from snow-covered surfaces.

325 were built.

Entering service with the Flygvapen in 1941, the Saab-17 was notable for the robust construction that has since been a feature of the company's designs, and the type remained in service until 1948. Although retired from active operation in 1948, the Saab 17 continued to fly as a target towplane until 1968.

After World War II 47 were delivered to the Ethiopian air force.

Engine: STWC 3 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp/ 1065 hp
Span: 13.7 m (45 ft 1 in)
Length: 9.8 m (35 ft 1.75 in)
Height: 14 ft 6 in
Wing area: 307 sq.ft
Take-off weight: 3790 kg (8355 lb)  
Maximum speed: 435 kph (270 mph)
Cruising speed: 390 kph (242 mph)
Landing speed: 125 kph (77 mph)     
Range: 1800 km (1120 miles)         
Max altitude: 8700 m (28550 ft)    

Engine: Bristol Mercury XXI V/980 hp
Span: 13.7 m (44 ft 11.25 in)        
Length: 9.8 m (35 ft 1.75 in)        
Take-off weight: 3605 kg (7948 lb)          
Maximum speed: 395 kph (245 mph)               
Cruising speed: 375 kph (233 mph)               
Landing speed: 125 kph (77 mph)    
Range: 1400 km (870 miles)            
Max. altitude: 8000 m (26250 ft)        

Engine: Bristol Mercury XXI V/980 hp
Span: 13.7 m (44 ft 11.25 in)        
Length: 9.8 m (35 ft 1.75 in)        
Take-off weight: 3825 kg (8433 lb)              
Maximum speed: 330 kph (205 mph)
Cruising speed: 315 kph (196 mph)       
Landing speed: 125 kph (77 mph)    
Range: 2000 km (1240 miles)              
Max. altitude: 6800 m (22300 ft)   


Engine: Piaggio PXI bis RC40D, 1040 hp / 761kW
Span: 13.7 m (44 ft 11.25 in)        
Length: 9.8 m (35 ft 1.75 in)        
Height: 4.40 m / 14 ft 5 in
Wing area: 28.50 sq.m / 306.77 sq ft
Take-off weight: 3870 kg (8532 lb)
Maximum speed: 435 kph (270 mph)
Cruising speed: 370 kph (230 mph)
Landing speed: 125 kph (77 mph)    
Range: 1700 km (1060 miles)
Max. altitude: 9800 m (32150 ft)
Armament: 2 x 13.2mm + 1 x 7.9mm machine-guns
Bomb load: 680kg


Saab 17



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