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The Saab Ja-37 Viggen (Thunderbolt) was developed as a successor to the J-35 Draken. It was replaced by the JAS-39 Gripen in the Swedish Air Force.


The first studies aimed at replacing the Draken were carried out in 1952 and 1957;
SAAB 37 Viggen 5

Saab Ja-37 Viggen of the Swedish Air Force painted in a jungle configuration

construction began in 1964 with the very first prototype taking flight in 1967. The goal was to produce an aircraft with excellent STOL performance that would enable it to operate from improvised facilities, such as roads and highways.

Other requirements included supersonic ability at low level, Mach 2 performance at altitude and the ability to make short landings at low angles of attack (to avoid damaging most runways). The Viggen like it's predecessor the Draken, was intended to perform various roles; the initial AJ-37 was a dedicated attack aircraft, the SK-37 training aircraft, the SF 37 reconnaissance variant, SH-37 maritime reconnaissance, and finally the JA-37 interceptor. Despite it's exceptional performance; the Viggens were slowly phased out in favor of the more advanced JAS-39 Gripen, which could perform virtually all of the Viggen's roles, with a single aircraft. As of 2007, the Viggen is no longer in service with the Swedish Air Force.


General CharacteristicsEdit

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 16.4 m (53 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.6 m (34 ft 9 in)

    Three views drawning of the J-37 Viggen

  • Height: 5.9 m (19 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 46 m² (500 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 9,500 kg (21,000 lb)
  • Loaded weight: AJ 16,000 kg; JA 17,000 kg (AJ 35,273 lb; JA 37,478 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 20,000 kg (44,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Volvo RM8B afterburning turbofan, 72.1 kN / 125.0 kN afterburning (16,200 lbf dry, 28,110 lbf afterburning)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.1, 2,231 km/h (1,386 mph) at 11,000 m (1,386 mph at 36,100 ft (11,003 m))
  • Range: 2,000 km internal fuel only (1242 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,100 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 203 m/s (12,200 m/min) (40,026 ft/min)


  • 1x 30 mm Oerlikon KCA cannon with 150 rounds
  • Six missile stations for two RB71 Skyflash (only JA37), four AIM-120 AMRAAM (JA 37D), or six AIM-9 Sidewinder or four 135 mm (5.4 in) rocket pods. Anti ship rockets RBO4E or RBS15 or AGM-65A. 500 kg bomb or 120 kg Virgo fragmentary bomb
  • U95 ECM pod (JA 37D)

See alsoEdit

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