The Saab 35 Draken or more commonly known by its nicknames like “the Kite or The Dragon” is a Swedish aircraft that was developed by the Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab in between years 1955 to 1974. The Saab 35 Draken is regarded a one of the first fully supersonic aircraft to have been deployed in Western Europe.
The Saab 35 Draken was developed in order to replace the first generation Swedish fighter jet aircraft the Saab J29 Tunnan and the Saab 32 Lansen.
The aircraft was developed with an innovative design of double delta wing that allowed the Swedish engineers to test out the previously untested aerodynamic feature in the Saab 210. The aircraft was deployed for the Swedish air Force service back on March 8th, 1960. The aircraft was developed to be one of the most capable dogfighters of its era.
The Saab 35 Draken is one of the most effective supersonic fighter jets during the Cold War era. The era of this aircraft was supposed to come to an end back in 191980s when it was replaced by the more advanced and capable fighter jet Saab JAS 39 Gripen. The Saab 39 was expected to enter service within 20 years but its service deployment was delayed. This resulted in the Swedish Air Force to make use of Saab 35 Draken until December of 1999. The aircraft was also exported to many of the following countries who last operated this aircraft as a training one for the test pilots.
For our readers today we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Saab 35 Draken which are as follows.
One of the nicknames the Saab 35 Draken has been given to is “The Dragon” the name derived from the word Draken in its name which is a Swedish word that translates into Dragon.
Production and design:-
The aircraft’s designing started way back in the late 1940s to late 1950s. The aircraft was initially designed with a purpose for replacing the old first generation jet fighter of Swedish Air Force like Saab J29 Tunnan and Saab 32 Lansen. This was the reason that it took more time than any jet fighter to complete its first prototype for flight.
The aircraft was ready by the end of the year 1955 and was ready for a test flight. The aircraft took its first flight back in October of 1955.
The aircraft was given a second nickname “The Kite”. The reason for giving it this name was because the aircraft was designed with Double Delta Wings which had never been designed before. The aircraft allowed the Swedish engineers to test out the previously unexplored aerodynamic feature. This aircraft was the one that led to the design of this predecessor the Saab 210.
Superiority over other European Jets:-
The Saab 35 Draken was one of the first fully supersonic fighter jets in Europe and during the Cold War ear it proved out to be a great asset for the Swedish Air Force as the aircraft had two main features.
Built for defense purposes only:-
The Saab 35 Draken was designed not for taking an active part in the combat; instead, it was designed by the SAF to serve defense purpose.
This means that the aircraft was used to defend the country in case of an invasion. The aircraft was agile enough to counter any kind of enemy fighter jet in dogfights.
Broke the speed record:-
The Saab 35 Draken which flew for the very first time back in 1955 broke the speed record. It was the first European aircraft to have broken the speed record when it reached the supersonic speed mark of Mach 1 which is equal to the speed of sound.
The aircraft did not stopped at the speed of sound at 768mph but even went on further to hit the needle at the mark of 1200 mph which is over 1 and half times the speed of sound.
The aircraft although flew back in 1955, the first operational fleet of this aircraft only entered in service five years later in March of 1960.
The rate of climb:-
The Saab 35 Draken was able to reach the speed of sound during its climb. The aircraft which was able to climb at the speed of sound straight up was regarded as one of the prized assets of SAF as the Saab 35 Draken was able to intercept enemy bombers during the life and death dogfights.
Over the years, newer and improved moles of Saab 35 Draken were developed by the SAF and that aircraft in its final variant form was able to reach the maximum speed of Mach 2 and over.
Rear landing Gera:-
Due to the thrusters of the aircraft being modified so far back, engineers decided to add rear landing gear to make the landings smoother. In addition to this, a chute was also installed that was deployed in case the aircraft had to make shorter landings.
The Saab 35 Draken was equipped with following weapons.
- dual 30mm cannons for close encounters
- 4 air-to-air heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles
- ability to fire 75mm rockets from duel pods
- 135mm rockets from duel pods for striking ground targets
Total manufactured Saab 35 Draken:-
A total of 651 of these aircraft were built by Saab and many of them were also exported to foreign air forces of the following countries.
The Saab 35 Draken was planned to retire from service way back in the 1980s by Saab JAS 39 Gripen. However, the Saab 39 Gripen’s manufacturing was delayed due to Cold War and Saab 35 Draken served the SAF until December of 1999.
The Saab 35 Draken served for an impressive nearly 2 decades for not only Swish Air Force but also for the countries like USA, Austria, Finland, and Denmark with its high speed and maneuverability features. The aircraft is regarded as one of the best second generation fighter jets of its era. The countries to which it was exported to mainly sued it after its combat service for test flights.