The unorthodox SAAB J 21 fighter was a domestic attempt to provide the Swedish Air Force with a true high performance fighter. It's design was conducted during war years, when there was no practical possibility for Sweden to acquire modern aircraft from abroad.
In 1941 SAABs designer Frid Wänström presented the Air Force with concept of a fighter plane powered by a Daimler Benz liquid-cooled V-12 engine. Wänström proposed a push-propeller layout and a tricycle undercarriage. This configuration was expected to have several important advantages - excellent forward visibility, heavy armament concentrated in the fuselage, good landing characteristics. The Air Force did not accept the design at once, and for a period of time it seemed that the J 21 project would be abandoned in favor of the more conventional J 23. But finally, in December 1941, the go-ahead for the project was given.
At the same time the Air Force arranged for purchase and license production of Daimler Benz engines from Germany. This finally resulted in the purchase of seventy-plus DB 605B engines of 1475 hp in 1943 and a contract for license production. Actually, the first Swedish-made engine wasn't delivered until after the war.
The J 21 emerged as a very advanced airframe with streamlined shape, twin tail booms, laminar wing profile and ejection seat for the pilot (which actually worked well in service, unlike some of the early ejection seat designs of German Luftwaffe). The first of the three prototypes made it's maiden flight in July 1943. However, the first series machines were delivered in 1945.
A total of 298 SAAB 21s were produced in five production batches. They served from 1946 to 1954.
Series aircraft were not without problems. Because of the propeller's placement, engine cooling proved to be inadequate, especially on the ground - a serious problem that was never really worked out. The aircraft also lacked the agility necessary for a dogfighter. On a positive side, it proved to be a good gun platform and was easy to start and land.
These properties lead to the decision to adapt the J21 to ground attack role. The bomb-carrying version, the J21A-3, made its debut in May 1947, with the capacity for a 700 kg bomb load or 8 rocket projectiles. Because of the new role, the designation A21 or even B21 was used in service units (A=attack, B=bomber).
Twee uitvoeringen mogelijk;
- Saab J21A - Flygfottilj 6/2nd Squadron.
- Saab J21A - Flygfottilj 9/1st Squadron.
- Lang; 145 mm.
- Breed; 161 mm.
Aantal onderdelen; 45