J35 Draken, Saab

J-35 Draken, Saab

The J35 is a Swedish jet fighter. The Draken was optimized for short runways and high climbing speed. It has a double delta wing: the inboard section is higly swept and has the oval jet intakes in the leading edges; the outbords sections have less sweep. The Saab 35 has high performance, but is said to be difficult to fly. A number are still in service. The J 35 was exported to Denmark, Finland and Austria. 606 built.

Type: J 35F Draken
Country: Sweden
Builder: Saab
Function: Interceptor/Fighter
Year: 1965
Crew: 1
Engines: 1 * Volvo Flygmotor 76 kN SFA RM.6C
Wing Span: 9.42 m
Length: 15.34 m
Height: 3.89 m
Wing Area: 49.22 m2
Empty Weight: 7865 kg
Max.Weight: 16000 kg
Speed: Mach 2.0 @ 11,000 m
Cruising speed: Mach 0.9
Ceiling: 19800 m
Range: 3250 km
Armament: 1*g30mm
User Countries: Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Austria

J35 Draken

The Saab 35 Draken [Dragon] is a second generation supersonic interceptor with a distinctive double delta wing. The decision to develop the Saab 35 Draken supersonic fighter, which introduced what was perhaps the most daring chapter so far in the history of the Swedish aircraft industry, had been taken as far back as 1949. After much research including flight-testing of a 70 percent scale aircraft, the first prototype of the innovative double-delta Draken flew in late 1955 and Sweden´s first Mach 2 fighter was a reality, entering production in 1957.

The J35A Draken entered service in 1959 and was followed by five different versions for the Swedish Air Force, including the all-weather J35F with its then advanced radar, infra-red search and track system, and both radar and IR guided missiles. In all, 612 Drakens were built between 1955 and 1972. Of these, 51 were exported to Denmark, Finland assembled 12 under license and later bought a number of ex-Swedish aircraft, and Austria ordered 24 modified Drakens.

The single-seat combat aircraft has, a single engine and is equipped with two 30mm automatic cannons and Sidewinder air-to-air guided weapons. The fuselage is round with small canopy, extending beyond the trailing edge of the tail fin, which is small and is highly swept along both leading and trailing edge. Small oval air intakes are located on either side of the fuselage. There are several versions of this aircraft and the type can operate from small airfields.

Text from: Military Analyses Network at FAS.org


As the jet era started, Sweden saw the need for a jet fighter that could intercept bombers at high altitude, but also take on fighters. The concept is similar to the US Air Force's F-104 Starfighter. In September 1949, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration issued a request for such an aircraft and work began the same year. Other requirements were the capability to able to operate from public roads, used as temporary airfields, and for re-fueling/re-arming to be carried out by conscripts, with little training, in no more than 10 minutes.

Its wings have a distinctive "double-delta" configuration, with one delta wing within another larger delta. The inner wing has an 80° angle for high speed performance, while the outer 60° wing gives good performance at low speeds. (The double-delta shape was so revolutionary that it warranted the only test aircraft built in Sweden in order to test the concept of the double delta; that aircraft was the Saab 210, nick-named "Lilldraken".) Propulsion is provided by a single Svenska Flygmotor RM6B/C turbojet (Rolls-Royce Avon 200/300). A ram turbine, under the nose, provides emergency power and the engine has a built-in emergency starter unit. The Draken has a drag chute to reduce landing speed.

All Drakens are interceptors with limited air to ground capability, with the sole exception of the Danish Drakens, which are strike aircraft capable of carrying AGM-12 Bullpup missiles, advanced jammers, and increased internal and external fuel stores. The Danish Drakens are so far the heaviest to have been in service.

The aircraft had good performance for its day, when it entered service in 1960. Although not designed to be a dogfighter, Draken proved to have good instantaneous turn capability and was a very capable fighter.

The J 35 Draken underwent several upgrades. The last was the J 35J version, in the early 1990s. By then, it had been almost totally replaced by Saab Viggen and Saab Gripen in Swedish service, although it remains in limited numbers in both military and civilian versions. Special models have also been exported to Denmark and Finland. In 1985, the Austrian Air Force purchased 24 Saab-Scania reconditioned Drakens. In the United States, the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) operates six Drakens that were formerly in Danish service.
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