Saab 32 Lansen

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Saab 32 Lansen
Lansen 1.JPG
A Saab J 32B at Kristianstad Airshow in 2006
Role Attack aircraft, Fighter aircraft, Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer SAAB
First flight 3 November 1952
Introduction 1956
Retired 1997
Primary user Swedish Air Force
Produced 1954-1960
Number built 450[1]

The Saab 32 Lansen (English: Lance[Nb 1][2]) was a two-seat, high transsonic attack aircraft produced by SAAB from 1955 to 1960 for the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). During its long operational life, the Saab 32 also served as a fighter, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and a target-tug aircraft.

Design and development[edit]

The Saab Company was approached in 1948 to develop a turbojet-powered strike aircraft to replace a series of 1940s vintage attack, reconnaissance and night-fighter aircraft in the Flygvapnet: the Saab B 18/S 18, J 21R/A 21R and J 30 (de Havilland Mosquito). The design was initially designated the P1150.[citation needed]

Swedish Air Force requirements for the P1150 were demanding: the aircraft had to be able to attack anywhere along Sweden's 2 000 km (1 245 miles) of coastline within one hour of launch from a central location. It had to be capable of being launched in any weather, day or night. Special attention was to be paid to integrating the electronics and weapons systems to create the equivalent of today's weapons systems approach to combat aircraft design. The aircraft was to be armed with four 20 mm cannon, rockets, bombs and/or a new anti-ship missile being developed, the Rb 04.[citation needed]

The design team created a sleek airframe with clean lines, powered by a license-built Rolls-Royce Avon Series 100 turbojet. Uniquely, the design of the swept wings was the result of an early application of computer technology. To test the 35° sweepback design, a half-scale wing was mounted on a Saab Safir, the Saab 202 Safir. The design initially featured both Fowler flaps and a leading edge slot. The slot was discarded as unnecessary after trials with the prototypes and never appeared on a production aircraft. A small batch of P1150 prototypes completed design and evaluation trials with series production of the newly renamed Saab J 32 Lansen (J for "Jakt" [Fighter]) beginning in 1953. There were no trainer versions, but some Lansens had rudimentary controls installed in the cockpit rear section.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

When the A 32A entered service they replaced the last piston-powered SAAB B 18 bomber. Soon after entering squadron service, the J 32 Lansen broke the sound barrier on 25 October 1953 when a production aircraft exceeded Mach 1 in a shallow dive. The J 32 carried four 30 mm ADEN cannons while the A 32 ("A" stands for attack) had an armament of four 20 mm Bofors m/49 cannon hidden under flaps in the nose and the Rb 04C anti-ship missile, one of the earliest of its type in western service. The Lansen normally was fitted with two missiles but it could also carry an additional missile. Its main role was to prevent any Soviet invasion across Sweden's extensive coastline.

One planned use of the A 32A was to deliver nuclear warheads or chemical weapons. Sweden had an active nuclear weapons program during the 1950s and 1960s, but no weapons were ever produced.[3]

A third of all Lansen were destroyed in accidents during 25 years of service in which 100 crew were killed along with 7 civilians in Vikbo.[4] The accidents were due to a combination of technical faults in the aircraft which were not ripe for squadron service and deficiencies in pilot training with regards to flying at night and in adverse weather. In the 1960 Vikbo crash experienced pilot Uno Magnusson encountered an engine outage and ejected from his attack version belonging to F6 wing based in Karlsborg.[4] The now pilotless aircraft crashed into a farmhouse and killed all seven civilian occupants. The crash was due to a known fault which occurred whenever the drop tank was fitted and which had already grounded it; the fighter version was forbidden from using the drop tank.[4] The replacement parts which would have corrected the fault, though available at the air base, had not been fitted in time. The causes of the crash were kept from the public after being supressed by the Flygvapnet press office and since the victims were civilians, they were not included in the Flygvapnet official accident statistics.[4]

The A 32 Lansen was Sweden's last purpose-built attack aircraft. Throughout the Cold War years, the Lansen distinguished itself with a solid if unspectacular career; Swedish pilots often described it as pleasant to fly. Gradually being replaced by more modern types, the Saab 32 soldiered on into the late 1990s. Two still remain operational with the sole task of taking high altitude air samples for research purposes in collaboration with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority. One of these was used to collect volcanic ash samples in April and May 2010.[5]


A 32A Lansen from F 17, 1960
Saab J 32B Lansen at Växjö Air Show 2012. This aircraft is the last Saab 32 built.
A 32A
Ground-attack and maritime-strike version. 287 aircraft built between 1955 and 1957,[6] retired in 1978. Armed with four 20 mm Bofors nose guns (license-built Hispano Mk V guns) and could carry two SAAB 304 missiles or unguided rocket pods.
Saab J 32B
J 32B
All-weather fighter version initially operated only for bad weather / night fighter duties. Two prototypes and 118 production aircraft built[6] between 1958 and 1960, retired in 1973. Armed with four 30 mm ADEN guns, Rb 24 missiles (license-built AIM-9 Sidewinder), or 75 mm unguided rocket pods. J 32B was powered by stronger Svenska Flygmotor RM 6A (Rolls-Royce Avon Mk 47A) engine.
S 32C
Specialized maritime and photo reconnaissance version developed from A 32A. 45 aircraft built[6] between 1958 and 1959, retired in 1978. Equipped with PS-432/A radar with extended range and with four cameras - two SKa 17 and two SKa 18.
J 32D
Target tug version. Six J 32B were modified,[6] retired in 1997.
J 32E
ECM (electronic warfare / electronic countermeasures) version used also for ECM training. Fourteen J 32B were modified,[6] retired in 1997. Aircraft was equipped with jamming system G 24 in one of three versions (for L, S or C bands) used for jamming ground and naval radars. Additionally Adrian (for S and C bands) and Petrus (for X band) pods were used for jamming aerial radars.
J 32AD
Project of day fighter version from 1953 as interim solution between the J 29 Tunnan and J 35 Draken, designated J 32AD ("D" stands for Dag [day]). Aircraft was lighter, without radar and armed with four 20 mm and one 30 mm guns in nose and different missiles. None built, 120 Hawker Hunter fighters bought instead.
J 32U
Project of fighter version from 1954 ("U" stands for utveckling [development]) with much better performance than J 32B. Aircraft was equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce RA 19R engine and had improved wing design. None built.



Specifications (J 32B)[edit]

SAAB J 32 Lansen - 3D drawing.svg

Data from The Great Book of Fighters,[7]Combat Aircraft since 1945 [1]

General characteristics



  • 4 × 30 mm ADEN cannons 90 rounds each
  • 4 × Rb 24 air-to-air missiles
  • 4 × 75 mm air-to-air rocket pods

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Literally "the Lance", as the names of Swedish combat aircraft, like Viggen or Draken, are in the definite form.


  1. ^ a b Wilson 2000, p. 122.
  2. ^ Nilsson, Axel (13 January 2012). "JAS 39 Gripen − Milestones". Projects. Swedish Defence Materiel Administration. Retrieved 12 February 2014. Swedish naming of aircraft 
  3. ^ Agrell, Wilhelm. Svenska Förintelsevapen: Utvecklingen av Kemiska och Nukleära Stridsmedel 1928-1970Swedish. Lund, SV: Historiska Media, 2002. ISBN 91-89442-49-0.
  4. ^ a b c d "Haveriet" (in Swedish). SE: Fokus (magazine). Oct 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Alpman, Marie. "Askprovtagning görs med Lansen" Swedish. NyTeknik, 6 May 2010. Retrieved: 2 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e Forsgren 2010, pp. 68–69.
  7. ^ Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. The Great Book of Fighters. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.


  • Erichs, Rolph et al. The Saab-Scania Story. Stockholm: Streiffert & Co., 1988. ISBN 91-7886-014-8.
  • Forsgren, Jan. "Database:SAAB 32 Lansen". Aeroplane, November 2010, Vol 38 No. 11, Issue 451. pp. 64–74.
  • Taylor, John W.R. "Saab 32 Lansen (Lance)." Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.
  • This Happens in the Swedish Air Force (brochure). Stockholm: Information Department of the Air Staff, Flygstabens informationsavdelning, Swedish Air Force, 1983.
  • Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.

External links[edit]