FFVS J22 Single-Seat Monoplane Fighter
Just under 200 examples of the FFVS J22 single-seat fighter were built for the Swedish Air Force from 1942 to 1946.
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When another World War broke out in Europe in September of 1939, European powers scattered about to find viable, modern weapons. This proved the case with Sweden - remaining neutral for the duration of the grand conflict - as it sought to strengthen its outdated stock of fighter aircraft. There were short-term solutions to be had in securing several American designs and additional warplanes arrived through agreements with Italy but a better long-term design was needed as acquiring foreign types soon proved impractical - if not impossible - in the growing war commitment.
This led Swedish authorities to establish an all new production facility which would manufacture a new design of local origin - the "J22". The factory was given the label of Kungliga Flygforvaltningens Flygverkstad i Stockholm under the acronym of "FFVS" and design work was headed by Bo Lundberg.
The result was a single-seat, single-engine fighter with all-modern qualities - an enclosed framed cockpit, monoplane wings, retractable undercarriage, etc... Construction incorporated a steel understructure with plywood skinning. On the whole, the design was very traditional for the period as the nose carried the engine installation and aft of this was the cockpit with the fuselage tapering to the rear and holding a single-finned tail unit. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted appendages and straight in their general shape with clipped tips. An unlicensed Pratt & Whitney R-1830 "Twin Wasp" engine (the SFA STWC-3G 14-cylinder air-cooled radial) was selected to power the type and produced 1,065 horsepower while driving a three-bladed propeller unit (a large aerodynamic spinner was fitted to this). Armament was 2 x 13.2mm heavy machine guns coupled with 2 x 7.9mm medium machine guns.
A first-flight of a prototype was had on September 20th, 1942 near the FFVS factory (Bromma Airport). Upon completing the requisite testing, evaluation and certification, it was adopted by the Swedish Air Force under the J22 designation. Original production models - of which 143 were built - were known as J22-1.
From this work was formed one other primary variant - the J22-2 - which carried a gun battery of 4 x 13.2mm heavy machine guns and decidedly improved on firepower. Fifty-five of this model were acquired. The mark exhibited a maximum speed of 360 miles per hour, a range out to 790 miles and a service ceiling of 30,500 feet.
The S22-3 was an offshoot of J22-1 fighters and modified for the reconnaissance role though only nine were made in 1946 and eventually reverted to their fighter standard by the end of 1947.
The J22, in its original fighter form, reached operational status in October of 1943. Production of the series spanned from 1942 until 1946 and 198 involving the two aforementioned marks were completed in all. In service, the type was well-respected and showcased good handling while performing quite well against contemporaries when evaluated head-to-head. Lacking a supercharger, however, it fared poorer at altitudes above 16,000 feet.
Because of Sweden's neutral stance during the war, and the fact that the conflict never spilled onto Swedish soil, the J22 was destined to never see direct combat action for the Swedish Air Force. It flew under Swedish colors into 1952 before the line was given up and the product was never exported. A few samples were preserved for museums but the series became one of the many overlooked fighter aircraft designs of World War 2.