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What makes the Viggen Iconic?


WelshZeCorgi
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Like a lot of swedish cold war hardware, it is purpose built to defend sweden from an invasion from the east, and the fact that a country as small as sweden can afford to develop hardware this advanced is impressive in it's own right. The reason we swedes are so fond of it is because it was such a common sight in the sky when we grew up, it's "our" fighter, just like the Draken and Tunnan before it.

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Well a better question would be what makes any aircraft Iconic ^^.

 

Being an icon makes it iconic :smilewink:

 

hurrr

 

Actually that sardonic answer does have its roots in some logic in that things like the huey are considered iconic by many Americans because they appear in so many films and they do or did fill American skies in the years following Vietnam when they all came home snd got sold off cheaply to private operators and police forces

 

Similarly the Mi-8 in Russia occupies a similar place.

 

For British people Spitfires are the living image of the second world war, everything we learn in school about the second world war is told through the lens of the Spitfire

 

For Swedes that were around for its heyday: It's the Viggen.

 

Due to its sad lack of export I'm not sure if many other people really got to appreciate it for what it could have been outside Sweden.

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It was ahead of its time and has many unique/interesting capabilities, which in itself isn't that impressive. What's impressive (IMO) is that it worked despite being a very ambitious aircraft.

DCS modules are built up to a spec, not down to a schedule.

 

In order to utilize a system to your advantage, you must know how it works.

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I know about Viggen since I was a kid. Also about Draken. And I'm not from Sweden.

 

Viggen was quite capable aircraft with many advanced, ahead of time features, and it regularly practiced operating from the woods and roads preparing for the worst in the time Cold war was very close to become nuclearly hot.

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One: the shape is iconic. It was the first aircraft with canards since the wood-and-fabric era.

Two: the brute force of the RM8 engine: at the time the most powerful single jet engine around.

Three: the role in the Swedish defence system: tailor made for the defensive needs of Sweden

Four: the STOL capabilities and the operational use in the sometimes harsh Swedish climate.

Five: The short turnaround time for refueling and rearming (AJ37: 10 minutes). During an exercise the same Viggen performed 11 sorties in one day.

Six: the functional demand that the JA37 should be able to reach 10 km. altitude from stand still in 1 minute and 40 seconds. Which it indeed could manage.

How (s)low can you go

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Good text passage from a RAF pilot interview:

 

Squadron exchanges were a regular occurrence at Coltishall, and while on 41 Mike participated in a particularly interesting one with F6 wing of the Swedish Air Force at Karlsborg, flying the AJ37 Viggen. Right from the start, he and his colleagues realised that much was exceptional about the way the Swedes trained and operated, not least considering that the majority of the pilots were effectively doing national service. ‘When you looked at the people who were flying the aeroplanes, I thought that we could learn from this, definitely. The guy who flew me was a Honda 500cc works motorcycle rider; they had rally drivers, go-kart racers, all kinds of things. These weren’t people with good degrees in underwater basket-weaving, these were people who were recruited to fly the Viggen.

 

The first to go up in the Viggen was our boss, Hilton Moses. I remember going out with him to the aeroplane and seeing him laughing and smiling, and then seeing him getting out and coming back to the crewroom looking like he’d just been put through some kind of crazy combination between a fairground ride and a washing machine. Then I went flying in the afternoon, and it changed my life.

‘They would fly around at Mach 0.95, 650kt give or take a bit, and they trained at 10m. We flew through firebreaks in trees, we flew all over northern Sweden at 30ft, and we never went below 600kt. All of this, I should add, was done under about a 150 to 200ft overcast with no breaks. In the RAF, anybody who wanted to get old would not have flown in that weather. After about 40 minutes, we pulled up into cloud, and the pilot then flew a 4-degree hands-off approach with his hands on his head into a remote airstrip, landed, reversed into a parking bay, did an engine-running refuel without any communication with the people on the ground except hand signals, taxied out and took off in the direction that we’d landed in. Wind
 direction just wasn’t factored.Then we did some approaches onto roadways, flying at 15 or 20ft to clear the cars and warn them that there were going to be some aeroplane movements before doing practice approaches. And the aerobatics beggared belief.

 

The next day, it was time to take the Swedish pilots flying in the Jaguar. I was at a bit of a loss as to how I was going to mission was on 19 January, and even then explain to this guy that we flew at 420kt when they flew at 620kt. So I decided that the way ahead was to leave the part-throttle reheat in, accelerate to 620kt and then give him the aeroplane. That’s what I did I tookoff,and gave him control at 620kt and about
 150ft. He pushed the nose down, took the Jaguar down to 30ft and proceeded to fly it at about 30 to 40ft and 600kt-plus quite happily.

 

It knocked all the myths about who’s got the best aeroplanes, who’s got the best-trained pilots and so on. The Swedish Air Force had aeroplanes that were light years ahead of anything the RAF had, or was going to get, or has got now, and their pilots were in a totally different league to us. This was not just an individual — I flew with three of them, and all three were like that. Each of them was able to fly the Jaguar faster and lower from the back seat than I could from the front seat.

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It's problary more iconic in Sweden than anywhere else, since it's the only country that operated it.

 

But that's also what makes it stand out in an international context I suppose. A country of less than 10 million people decides it's a good idea to fund and develop their own combat aircrafts, and for its own purposes first and foremost. Exporting the things was a secondary priority. So it's an aircraft designed around swedish military thinking and doctrine of the time; STOL capability in order to use road runways and other short landing strips, ease of maintenance so it could be served by a crew of conscripts and made ready for a new sortie within 10-20 minutes after landing, among other things. And SAAB was on the vanguard of technology as well. The AJ 37 was one of the first combat aircrafts with an onboard computer and the JA 37 was the first fighter aircraft with a data link.

 

So it represents the capability of a neutral but small state in northern Europe, and that's what makes it iconic.

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I always like the Draken more than the Viggen.

 

The Viggen came out of the Swedish defence industry during the 60's at around the same time as the S-tank and the Bandkanon 1.

This was a period when politicians started to look more to the jobs that could be "Created" with military projects than to how much sense they made from a cost benefit perspective.

In the beginning over 700 aircraft where planned but this was cut down so much the Chief of the air force wanted to stop the project in the mid 60's because it didn't make enough sense from a cost benefit perspective to continue.

If this had been the case Sweden would probably have bought the F4 Phantom.

 

The Viggen project gutted the air force as it had to be reduced in size dramatically to fit the cost overruns Fighter squadrons around Stockholm went from 12 to three as an example.

Too few Strike Viggen's where also delivered for the air force to dare risk it in Northern Sweden so light trainers armed with rockets where the only ground support the army could expect in the north.

The armament was also limited due to the cost. The Viggen actually has 9 hardpoints and has always had. But on the AJ37 viggen only 5 of those where available of which one was for the drop tank and 2 more where sacrificed if ECM and Chaff/Flares wanted to be carried.

The JA-37 Viggen could use 7 pylons but it could only carry rockets for ground attack, it was also so limited in numbers the Draken had to soldier on until the Gripen arrived in the 90's.

Only one Viggen has used all 9 Pylons and that is the JA-37D which got chaff and Flare dispensers fitted fitted to the last two 500kg capable pylons behind the landing gear wells.

 

In all i think the Viggen in an excellent aircraft but it got too expensive which meant so much had to be sacrificed in order to get the basic Jet it severely limited the aircraft's usefulness and surviveability.

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The Viggen is not iconic, in truth it's terribly obscure outside Sweden. It is somewhat interesting from a technical standpoint, but is certainly not iconic. A truly iconic aircraft is one that most random people in any country on Earth would at least recognize, even if they can't identify it.

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I always like the Draken more than the Viggen.

 

The Viggen came out of the Swedish defence industry during the 60's at around the same time as the S-tank and the Bandkanon 1.

This was a period when politicians started to look more to the jobs that could be "Created" with military projects than to how much sense they made from a cost benefit perspective.

In the beginning over 700 aircraft where planned but this was cut down so much the Chief of the air force wanted to stop the project in the mid 60's because it didn't make enough sense from a cost benefit perspective to continue.

If this had been the case Sweden would probably have bought the F4 Phantom.

 

The Viggen project gutted the air force as it had to be reduced in size dramatically to fit the cost overruns Fighter squadrons around Stockholm went from 12 to three as an example.

Too few Strike Viggen's where also delivered for the air force to dare risk it in Northern Sweden so light trainers armed with rockets where the only ground support the army could expect in the north.

The armament was also limited due to the cost. The Viggen actually has 9 hardpoints and has always had. But on the AJ37 viggen only 5 of those where available of which one was for the drop tank and 2 more where sacrificed if ECM and Chaff/Flares wanted to be carried.

The JA-37 Viggen could use 7 pylons but it could only carry rockets for ground attack, it was also so limited in numbers the Draken had to soldier on until the Gripen arrived in the 90's.

Only one Viggen has used all 9 Pylons and that is the JA-37D which got chaff and Flare dispensers fitted fitted to the last two 500kg capable pylons behind the landing gear wells.

 

In all i think the Viggen in an excellent aircraft but it got too expensive which meant so much had to be sacrificed in order to get the basic Jet it severely limited the aircraft's usefulness and surviveability.

Yes, little Sweden and SAAB has certenly produced unbelivable jetfighters - and Draken is THE "pin-up" of them all...

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The Viggen is not iconic, in truth it's terribly obscure outside Sweden. It is somewhat interesting from a technical standpoint, but is certainly not iconic. A truly iconic aircraft is one that most random people in any country on Earth would at least recognize, even if they can't identify it.

"Iconic" is in the eye of the beholder... In Sweden it's iconic!

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Someone asked the same thing on reddit a while ago so I'll just quote my answer from then:

 

For many of us who grew up in Sweden in the 80's and 90's, the Viggen is the aircraft, the cool one you liked when you were a kid. Back then most parts of the country had a local air wing and there was still enough budget to fly a lot - most wings had their own air shows and displays every year. Schools went on field trips to the local wing to see what the air force was up to. Dad pointed out road bases when you went on a road trip with the family. You saw (and heard) the Viggens quite a lot.

 

Later in life it has only become more interesting, but for other reasons. It still looks cool, of course, but it's also a very interesting historical artifact. It is in many ways the epitome of Sweden in the Cold War; a monument over an era that is still in living memory, yet so utterly alien seen with today's eyes. Proportionally, the Viggen project was as big to Sweden as the Apollo program was to the US economically speaking, but it goes further than that. The Viggen is more than just an aircraft - it is Swedish exceptionalism in distilled form. The on-paper neutrality, the oddball military doctrine, the faith in domestic industry... A country with a population smaller than many metropolitan areas developed its own strike jet because it was believed that it was necessary. The Viggen is peak Cold War, for Sweden. What it symbolizes looms almost as large in my mind as the aircraft itself.

 

And of course, all the technical weirdness that resulted from the above is interesting from a purely nerd trivia standpoint. :V

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Fantastic reads here. Thanks Fredo_69 with the #10 post https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=2999937&postcount=10

 

and also renhanxue.

Good stuff, can't wait to delve into the digital version of this plane!

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Any self respecting Airfix building schoolboy in 1960s Britain would've known the unique shapes of the Viggen and the Draken before it.

Definitely iconic I'd say.

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Good text passage from a RAF pilot interview:

 

Squadron exchanges were a regular occurrence at Coltishall, and while on 41 Mike participated in a particularly interesting one with F6 wing of the Swedish Air Force at Karlsborg, flying the AJ37 Viggen. Right from the start, he and his colleagues realised that much was exceptional about the way the Swedes trained and operated, not least considering that the majority of the pilots were effectively doing national service. ‘When you looked at the people who were flying the aeroplanes, I thought that we could learn from this, definitely. The guy who flew me was a Honda 500cc works motorcycle rider; they had rally drivers, go-kart racers, all kinds of things. These weren’t people with good degrees in underwater basket-weaving, these were people who were recruited to fly the Viggen.

 

The first to go up in the Viggen was our boss, Hilton Moses. I remember going out with him to the aeroplane and seeing him laughing and smiling, and then seeing him getting out and coming back to the crewroom looking like he’d just been put through some kind of crazy combination between a fairground ride and a washing machine. Then I went flying in the afternoon, and it changed my life.

‘They would fly around at Mach 0.95, 650kt give or take a bit, and they trained at 10m. We flew through firebreaks in trees, we flew all over northern Sweden at 30ft, and we never went below 600kt. All of this, I should add, was done under about a 150 to 200ft overcast with no breaks. In the RAF, anybody who wanted to get old would not have flown in that weather. After about 40 minutes, we pulled up into cloud, and the pilot then flew a 4-degree hands-off approach with his hands on his head into a remote airstrip, landed, reversed into a parking bay, did an engine-running refuel without any communication with the people on the ground except hand signals, taxied out and took off in the direction that we’d landed in. Wind
 direction just wasn’t factored.Then we did some approaches onto roadways, flying at 15 or 20ft to clear the cars and warn them that there were going to be some aeroplane movements before doing practice approaches. And the aerobatics beggared belief.

 

The next day, it was time to take the Swedish pilots flying in the Jaguar. I was at a bit of a loss as to how I was going to mission was on 19 January, and even then explain to this guy that we flew at 420kt when they flew at 620kt. So I decided that the way ahead was to leave the part-throttle reheat in, accelerate to 620kt and then give him the aeroplane. That’s what I did I tookoff,and gave him control at 620kt and about
 150ft. He pushed the nose down, took the Jaguar down to 30ft and proceeded to fly it at about 30 to 40ft and 600kt-plus quite happily.

 

It knocked all the myths about who’s got the best aeroplanes, who’s got the best-trained pilots and so on. The Swedish Air Force had aeroplanes that were light years ahead of anything the RAF had, or was going to get, or has got now, and their pilots were in a totally different league to us. This was not just an individual — I flew with three of them, and all three were like that. Each of them was able to fly the Jaguar faster and lower from the back seat than I could from the front seat.

 

That was an interesting read! You got a source for this?

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The Viggen, and by and large, all swedish aircraft of the cold war are iconic.

 

I Live in Australia and I knew of more Swedish jets than most other airforce's outside of AU, UK and US.

 

With their appearance they are elegant yet highly functional and durable aircraft, the distinctive camouflage pattern and their roundel design was highly eye catching.

 

When you would dig deeper you would see the aircraft were built highly specifically to deal with the localized conditions and threat - there was no unnecessary features on those aircraft.

 

To top it all off, they were built "inhouse" and feature advanced technology at the time.

 

Definitely iconic of the cold war period.

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The Viggen, and by and large, all swedish aircraft of the cold war are iconic.

 

I Live in Australia and I knew of more Swedish jets than most other airforce's outside of AU, UK and US.

 

With their appearance they are elegant yet highly functional and durable aircraft, the distinctive camouflage pattern and their roundel design was highly eye catching.

 

When you would dig deeper you would see the aircraft were built highly specifically to deal with the localized conditions and threat - there was no unnecessary features on those aircraft.

 

To top it all off, they were built "inhouse" and feature advanced technology at the time.

 

Definitely iconic of the cold war period.

 

Saab offered to sell the Viggen to Australia in 1972.

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