UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Saab J29 Tunnan [Barrel]

On 01 September 1948 the SAAB J29 prototype flew for the first time. The Flygande tunnan ["Flying Barrel"], as it was called, broke two world records in speed and would make Swedish aerospace famous worldwide. "It was love at first sight. On the ground, an ugly duckling, but in the air, cool! " The words uttered by the first person who flew J29 barrel, the British test pilot Robert "Bob" Moore. The R1001 project was developed under the leadership of chief engineer Lars Brising. Before Brising himself gave the plane the nickname "Flying Barrel" the guys on the shop floor called the R1001 project "One Thousand and One Nights".

The J29 took the breath away of other world flight engineers. Only the Soviet MiG-15 and F-86A Sabre from the US could compete with SAAB 29. How could a small country like Sweden to be the first in Europe with a jet fighter with a performance that was only on the drawing board in most other aviation manufacturers? On this issue becomes more answers.

  1. Sweden had air force managers with the ability to modernize and expand the flight to a powerful weaponry with maximum domestic manufacturing.
  2. There was a political will and courage to remain independent as a nation and independent of foreign production. They had learned this lesson from experience. Sweden at the beginning of World War II could not get their overseas ordered fighter aircraft delivered. They had also learned that the prewar open relationships that existed between aircraft manufacturers in various countries were gone. Formerly, experiences and knowledge shared between manufacturers was now kept everything secret.
  3. By "chance" SAAB's research director Frid Wänström obtained some German aircraft drawings from the war when he was on a visit to Switzerland in 1945. The Allies had of course also all the drawings they come over after the war, but poor knowledge of the German language left them unbale to use this material to the fullest. Swedish engineers, having studied German from school age, could use the drawings Wänström come across - a bonanza for SAAB.
  4. Sweden had very skilled and determined engineers who had to work in a rare stimulating environment, which is often the case when working with pioneering projects in a pioneer business.

The Swedish Air Force general Bengt Gustavsson Nordenskiöld started the development of this weaponry to become one of the strongest of the kind in the world. In 1938, he became squadron director at First flygeskadern until 1942 when he was appointed lieutenant-general and head of the Air Force. The General could work with the politicians and had good contacts with Defense Minister Per Edvin Sköld. At the end of Nordenskiöld's time as head of the Swedish Air Force, it was the fourth largest in the world. Sweden then had four air squadrons, 17 air flotilla, two air forces, two flight schools and a total of about 1,000 aircraft.

Air Force management decided in 1945 SAAB will design a new hjet engine driven fighter aircraft, a jet fighter. The requirements that were pplaced on the plane was that it could fly at Mach number 0.86, or about 1050 km/h, able to carry four 20 mm cannons, reach high altitude and be generally robust to withstand the Swedish Air Force active-handling.

SAAB's research director Frid Wänström began to sketch out a Swedish fighter derived from German drawings he had come across. Especially, there were certain similaritied between the SAAB 29 and German Messerschmitt P-1101. Although the Swedish construction was admittedly inspired by the P-1101, it was designed, constructed, tested and manufactured series Sweden.

Pilvingen gave the plane increased speed performance by reducing drag, and a jet engine that was the future engine of the fighter aircraft. Project R1001 started with the German documents from wind tunnel tests and experience from various jet-powered aircraft designed during the war. Once the Air Force became interested, it ordered three test aircraft. Lars Brising was assigned to lead the project. The new pilvingen [swept wing, literally "arrow wing"] was tested first in half scale on a converted Saab Safir (SK50), was designated aircraft 201. The experience achieved were extremely valuable in the construction of the first prototype.

It had also concluded that the highest power of the future jet engines is achieved by a straight air flow to the engine and the shortest distance to the outlet. The SAAB 29 was built around the air duct and the engine. Earlier, Sweden imported De Haviland Goblin engine from England and gained experience from jet operation in SAAB 21 (J21R). Swedish aircraft engineers in Trollhattan had to license the production of this engine in Sweden. The British were impressed by the quality of the Swedish license manufactured engines and Svenska Flygmotor got the license to build the bigger and stronger De Haviland Ghost engine planned for the J29. Trollhattan also produced the Ghost engine for a two-part air intake that was sent to England to their De Haviland Venom. The same aircraft was imported later as a night fighter aircraft which was designated J33.

With J29, which became the name of the Air Force of the SAAB 29, began an era of new thinking within Swedish aviation industry and a willingness to be at the forefront of what could be produced abroad. Sample Aviator Bob Moore himself noted in a contemporary interview, that the aircraft was the first in Europe with swept-back wings, all-moving stabilizer, automatic leading edge flaps, a new ejection seat, in short, that Saab was in the forefront of development. J29 became a national project when a large number of different companies and institutions were involved in the development of the barrel.

The barrel was built in 6 versions, J29A to J29F. A total of 661 copies od the SAAB 29 were built, the largest number of aircraft ever made in Sweden.

  1. J29B equipped with fuel tanks, in addition to the body even in the wings. This increase in volume from 1400 liters to 2100 liters, which gave the planet a much better range of action. J29B also used as attack planes and then called A29B.
  2. J29C built as pure reconnaissance version with armament replaced by cameras. C version was thus completely unarmed. It was the first plane with radar warning systems built in Sweden. C version later modified with the new wing of the E version.
  3. J29D built with Swedish designed afterburner, EBK. This increased the overall performance significantly. Especially slew rate improved from about 7-8 minutes to 5 minutes to reach 10,000 feet. The engine on all J29: or was it in Sweden manufactured under license The Haviland Ghost, it was designated RM2 (original from England) RM2A became the manufactured under license and RM2B with the Swedish EBK. Afterburner increased tensile force from 2270 kg to 2800 kg, thus increasing traction of just over 23 percent.
  4. J29E, a version to improve flight performance by broadening the outermost two meters of the wing, the leading edge of the wing sticking out a little further than the inner part. A small vertical fin mounted that prevented the early release of air which improved lågfartsegenskaperna. The modification also increased the speed of Mach 0.86 to Mach 0.89.
  5. J29F was the last version that was built. F version had the new wing of the E-version plus a Swedish built engine tested in the D version.
  6. J29F in Austrian colors. This had the saw tooth in the wing leading edge. It came with the development of the E-version. Only one country other than Sweden bought and used the barrel. It was Austria who bought 30 used J29F.

The J29 set two world speed records. The first was the then captain Anders Westerlund from F16 in Uppsala with a J29B. Westerlund achieved an average speed of 977 km / h on a closed orbit of 500 km May 6, 1954. The next world record was set March 23 1955. This time it was important to beat the old record of 1000 km closed path which had been translated by an English Gloster Meteor. The record was three years old and read 822 km / h. Captain His Neij and field aviator Birger Eriksson from F11 Nyköping achieved with their S29C an average speed of 900.6 km / h. It started from F11 and flew up to Ornskoldsvik, returned to the F11.

The barrel was at the UN mission stationed in the Congo in the early 1960s with five J29B and two J29C. The plan participated in hostilities over the disputed territory of Katanga to support UN ground troops. The barrel proved durable and despite often strong countermeasures against the J29 with injuries, they lost no planes in combat.

In May 1967, the fighter versions of the Tunnan was retired from combat service; however, a number of aircraft were retained and reconfigured for use as countermeasures trainers and for target towing duties into the 1970s. In August 1976, the last official military flight was performed at the Swedish Air Force's 50th anniversary air show.

Length 10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)
Wingspan 11.0 m (36 ft 1 in)
Height 3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)
Wing area 24.15 m² (260.0 ft²)
Empty weight 4,845 kg (10,680 lb)
Max. takeoff weight 8,375 kg (18,465 lb)
Powerplant 1 × Svenska Flygmotor RM 2B turbojet, 6,070 lbf (27 kN)
Maximum speed 1,060 km/h (660 mph)
Range 1,100 km (685 mi)
Service ceiling 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
Rate of climb 32.1 m/s (6,320 ft/min)
  • 4x20mm Hispano Mark V autocannon
  • 75 mm (3 in) air-to-air rockets
  • Rb 24 air-to-air missiles
  • 145 mm (5.8 in) anti-armor rockets,
  • 150 mm (6 in) HE (high-explosive) rockets,
  • 180 mm (7.2 in) HE antiship rockets
  • Crew 1

    Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

    Page last modified: 18-08-2016 15:46:45 ZULU