Saab J32 Lansen (Lance) Jet-Powered Single-Seat Fighter / Strike Aircraft
The indigenous jet-powered Saab J32 Lansen fighter served a multitude of roles for the Swedish Air Force during - and after - the Cold War.
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By the late 1940s, the Swedish Air Force (or "Flygvapnet") was reviewing options in an effort to replace its aging series of attack platforms - these both foreign purchases and indigenous aircraft designs. Consistent with Swedish military thinking - in which the entire country became a battlefield in the event of all-out war - the new aircraft should be able to reach all parts of Sweden, be they inland or at the ocean, at any time of day and in any weather condition. The Soviet Empire proved the largest threat to Sweden in the region and, as such, the aircraft would act as both a deterrent to invasion by the Red Army and as a lethal tool in the event of. Speed would, of course, play an important part of the design as would armament - this capable of tangling with land-based and aerial targets alike through use of cannon, rockets and missiles as needed. One of the primary missile armaments for the aircraft would eventually be the equally-new Rb 04 anti-ship missile then in development but would go on to include a license-production copy of the American AIM-8 Sidewinder ("Rb 24" in the Swedish inventory).
In 1948, Saab delivered their two-seat, jet-powered P1150 prototype with swept wings in a smooth contoured airframe tied to a British Rolls-Royce Avon 100 series afterburning turbojet engine (the latter also license-built in Sweden by Svenska Flygmotor as the RM). Interestingly, the aircraft also featured one of the first pairs of wings designed with the help of computers to test initial concepts. First flight of the prototype was recorded on November 3rd, 1952. After a relatively short period of evaluation and testing of several more constructed prototypes, the P1150 was officially accepted into the ranks of the Flygvapnet as the Saab J32 "Lansen" (or "Lance"). Production began in 1953 and one example broke the sound barrier as soon as October 25th of that year, this, however, in a shallow dive. The initial production version - the A 32A "attack" model - was formally introduced to the Flygvapnet in 1955. Once in operation, Flygvapnet pilots and crew were quick to note the type's pleasing flight qualities. The Lansen series was in active service - in one form or another - up until 1997 - all with the Swedish Air Force.