Home      Saab 37 Viggen

Saab 37

Saab 37
Click on the photo to hear the wav sound.


    Primary Function:
    Weight Empty:
    Max. Weight:
    Hard Points:
    Max. Speed:
    Climb Rate:
    First Flight:
    Year Deployed:
Volvo RM8B
28,110 lbs.
21,000 lbs.
44,000 lbs.
1- 30 mm
15,432 lbs.
53' 9"
34' 9"
1,386 mph
40,000 fpm
1,400 miles
59,000 feet

The origins of the Saab 37, known as Viggen, trace back to 1961 when the Swedish Air Force ordered a replacement aircraft for its aging fighter fleet.

The Saab 37 would perform numerous roles, including fighter, interceptor, attack, and reconnaissance. It would need to have STOL abilities to operate from unimproved short airfields. In addition it would have to be capable of excellent maneuverability, the ability to perform at lower altitudes at speeds in excess of Mach 1, and be able to exceed Mach 2 during its upper altitudes fighter and interceptor roles.

The most distinctive features of the Saab 37 are its forward canards and delta wing. Unlike the use of canards in modern aircraft which aid in maneuverability, the primary use of the canards on the Viggen was to aid in its STOL capabilities.

Saab began experimenting with the use of non movable forward canards in the early 1950's. They were used in conjunction with the large delta wing design to generate low speed lift, minimizing stall speed.

Engine thrust reversing, the ability of the flap equipped canards to help generate low speed lift, and a large wing area to act as an air brake during high alpha approaches gave the Saab 37 exceptional stopping abilities. It was capable of operations on runways as short as 1,640 feet, a Swedish Air Force requirement.

Pilots praised the handling of the Saab 37, especially in that it was easier to fly than its predecessor. However, the high alpha landings, necessary for short stops, did take a bit of practice to perfect.

Modular systems, numerous access panels, and a self diagnostic system made the Saab 37 easy to maintain.

While Saab 37 aircraft used predominantly Swedish parts, their engines were a U.S. Pratt & Whitney design, built under license. The weapons of the aircraft were also of U.S. origin.

The wrap around single piece forward cockpit canopy provided excellent pilot visibility. It was strengthened to withstand bird strikes. The upper portion of the Saab 37 vertical stabilizer folded to permit storage in low ceiling underground hangars.

During their service history, Saab 37 aircraft received analog to digital avionics updates, and more modern weapons systems.

When it first flew in 1967, the Saab 37 was arguably the most advanced jet fighter produced outside of the United States. The aircraft were long lived, with the last one retiring from active duty with the Swedish Air Force in late 2005.

A total of 338 Saab 37 aircraft of all types were produced.

Saab 37 - MBS RC Models.

Pictured above is the Saab 37 built from a kit for sale by MBS Models. It has a 35" wingspan and is 54" long.  A MEGA motor driving a 90 mm fan unit is recommended propulsion.

The first picture below is of Jonas Bergstrom and his 1:6 scale Saab 37.  Jonas reported on the RCUniverse website that his team is working on an all composites model.

In the next picture below is the Saab 37 built from a Col. Bob Thacker design.  Plans are available through Golden Era Model Service Plans.  It is of all fiberglass construction with a 45" wingspan and all up weight of about 13 lbs.  A Rossi .81 engine turning a Byrojet fan unit powers the aircraft.

The bottom picture on this page is of the Saab 37 scratch built by Mark Wheadon.  It has a wingspan of 36" with a Speed 500 type motor powering a EDF unit.  Construction is primarily balsa and foam. It has a weight of approximately 3 1/2 lbs.

There is a build thread in RC Groups for a Saab 37 built from Guiseppe Ghislere plans that were published in RCM. It has a 43" wingspan and a 56" length. Power is from a .45 engine turning a 5" fan.

Saab 37 - Jonas Bergstrom

Saab 37 - Col. Bob Thacker

Saab 37 - Mark Wheadon

Email us.