Saab AB

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Saab AB
Company typePublicly traded Aktiebolag
Nasdaq StockholmSAAB B
IndustryAerospace and defence
Founded1937 in Trollhättan, Sweden
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease 42.006 billion kr (2022)
Increase 3.274 billion kr (2022)
Increase 2.283 billion kr (2022)
Total assetsIncrease 72.365 billion kr (2022)
Total equityIncrease 29.876 billion kr (2022)
OwnerWallenberg family (38.9%; 48.3% votes)
Number of employees
Increase 19,002 (2022)
Footnotes / references
[1][note 1]

Saab AB (originally Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, lit.'The Swedish Aeroplane Corporation', acronym SAAB), with subsidiaries collectively known as the Saab Group (Swedish: Saabgruppen), is a Swedish aerospace and defense company primarily operating from Sweden. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, but its development and manufacturing operations are undertaken in Linköping.

The company was formally founded by AB Bofors in 1937, by reforming the aero engine division of company NOHAB (founded in 1930), located in Trollhättan, into a proper aircraft manufacturer. It would soon merge with aircraft manufacturer ASJA (founded in 1931), located in Linköping, in 1940, which had it own design bureau and is considered the spiritual predecessor to todays Saab AB.[2] This formed the SAAB-concern, with the factory in Trollhättan becoming SAAB/T and the factory in Linköping (previously ASJA) becoming SAAB/L and design headquarters.[2]

From 1947, Saab started producing automobiles, the automobile division being spun off as Saab Automobile in 1990, a joint venture with General Motors. The joint venture ended in 2000 when GM took complete ownership. From 1968 onwards the company was in a merger with commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania-Vabis, known as Saab-Scania. The two were de-merged in 1995 by the new owners, Investor AB. Despite the demerger, both Saab and Scania share the right to use the griffin logo,[3] which originates from the coat of arms of the Swedish region of Scania.[4]


Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (SAAB)[edit]

SAAB's original logotype from 1939, depicting a license built Junkers Ju 86, the first aircraft produced by the company.

Saab was founded by AB Bofors in 1937 as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (acronym SAAB; lit.'The Swedish Aeroplane Corporation'), located in Trollhättan,[5] by reforming the aircraft engine division of engineering company NOHAB (Nohab Flygmotorfabrik AB, lit.'Nohab Aero engine factory'), which had been acquired by Bofors in 1935. Bofors had in recent years been in development with the Swedish Air Force (SAF) to create aircraft weaponry and ordnance and wanted to create an aircraft manufacturing subortinate which could take a monopoly over the SAF's future aircraft orders, a premise supported by the SAF.[2] At the time, however, there already was a competing company formed with this premise in 1931, by the name of ASJA (AB Svenska Järnvägsverkstädernas Aeroplanavdelning, lit.'The Swedish Railway workshops Aeroplane department'), located in Linköping, which was a successor to Svenska Aero (SA) under Sven Blomberg, head designer of the Svenska Aero Jaktfalken fighter plane. ASJA had solicit Blomberg from Svenska Aero in 1930 and later purchased the company in 1932 along with their portfolio of designs, quickly making them the leading aeroplane manufacturer in Sweden at the time.[2]

Bofors started negotiating with ASJA in 1936 to see if they could to enter into a sort of stock sharing consortium lead under a parent company. Such a deal was struck in 1937, with support from the SAF, the parent company being named AB Förenade Flygverkstäder (AFF). To ease future competition, Bofors bought out small competitor E. Sparmanns aircraft workshop, which at the time was developing a modern fighter for the SAF, under the name of Sparmann E4 [sv].[2]

Despite the consortium, SAAB in Trollhättan (previously Nohab Flygmotorfabrik AB) still had to compete with ASJA over contracts and the cooperation never came to fruition. While SAAB in Trollhättan got a few contracts, such as license producing the Junkers Ju 86 bomber for the Swedish Air Force (SAF designation B 3) in 1938, ASJA won most of the contracts from the SAF, such as license production of the Hawker Hart (B 4) and Northrop Model 8 (B 5).[2] After ASJA's design bureau produced the winning designs for what eventually became the Saab 17 (ASJA L-10) and Saab 18 (ASJA L-11), beating out AFF/SAAB's competing F.1 and G.1 designs, it was decided in March 1939 to scrap AFF and formally reform ASJA into the SAAB-concern, the Trollhättan factory (previously Nohab) becoming SAAB/T and the Linköping factory (previous ASJA) becoming SAAB/L, the latter becoming headquarters.[2]

SAAB 18B (internal name L-18B) being produced at the Saab Linköping factory at the end of WWII.

The basic initial development was the problems for the Swedish government to get quality military aircraft delivered at the beginning of the Second World War. The final trigger was the inability to get a large number of Seversky P-35 delivered from the United States. From then on the Swedish government focused on establishing domestic production and development of military aircraft which Saab became involved in, a policy that has continued to this day. The first SAAB-developed aircraft was the SAAB 17 light dive bomber (first flight: 1940-05-18), soon followed by the SAAB 18 schnellbomber (first flight: 1942-06-19) and SAAB 21 single-seat fighter (first flight: 1943-07-30), among other developments, the latter being the first aircraft to see service with a modern style ejection seat, using gunpowder to eject instead of compressed air like the contemporary German counterparts.

Originally manufacturing aircraft, the company sought ways in which to diversify its business. Before the Second World War, a majority of cars in Sweden were imported from the United States. The US car manufacturers have been producing tanks during the war, and the US domestic market took all the US car production in the late 1940s. Hence there was a large supply shortage of private cars in Europe and Sweden, and buyers were facing waiting lists of years on new cars. In the late 1940s, Saab began manufacturing cars at its Saab Automobile division, based in Trollhättan. The first car was the Saab 92; full-scale production started 12 December 1949, based on the prototype Ursaab.[6] Around 1950 the style "Saab" started being used instead of the all caps "SAAB".[7]

In the late 1950s Saab ventured into the computer market with Datasaab.[5] The company was a result partly of the need to make a computer that would be small enough to mount in an aeroplane as navigational equipment. During the 1960s several computers were developed and sold to European countries, for uses such as banking. The aircraft computer (CK 37) was used in 1971 in the Viggen. The company was sold in 1975 to Sperry UNIVAC, while Saab retained its flight computer development.

Saab AB[edit]

In May 1965, the company name was changed to Saab AB to reflect its broad range of activities.[7]

In 1968 Saab AB merged with the Swedish lorry, bus and heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer Scania-Vabis,[8] and became Saab-Scania AB.

In 1990 General Motors bought 51% of the car division Saab Automobile, and acquired the rest a decade later.

In 1991 Investor AB completed a leveraged buyout of Saab-Scania AB. Investor AB acquired all the outstanding shares in Saab-Scania for approximately SEK 21 billion.[9][10][11] Saab-Scania became a wholly owned subsidiary of Investor AB and the company was de-listed.[12]

In 1995 Saab-Scania was divided by Investor AB into two independent companies, de-merging into Scania AB and Saab AB. The intention by Investor AB was to broaden ownership in the two companies later.[13] Following the sale of 50% of the car division Saab Automobile AB to General Motors, the main reason behind the merger with lorry manufacturer Scania-Vabis in 1968 had disappeared.

Also in 1995 Saab Military Aircraft and British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) formed the joint venture company Saab-BAe Gripen AB, to manufacture, market and support Gripen internationally. This co-operation was extended in 2001 with the formation of Gripen International for the same purpose.[14] From 1998 until 2005 British Aerospace/BAE was the largest shareholder in Saab following its acquisition of a 35% stake from Investor AB. In January 2005, BAE Systems reduced its shareholding to 20%. Investor AB maintained a 20% share.

16 November 1999, Saab announced its intention is to purchase Celsius AB and the acquisition was concluded by early March 2000.[15]

In September 2000 United Defense Industries (UDI) purchased Bofors Weapon Systems from Saab (the autocannon and tube artillery interests), while Saab retained the missile interests.

In December 2005 Saab joined the Dassault nEUROn project as a major partner.

In October 2008 the company announced its intention to merge its operations with that of Simrad Optronics. The new unit will develop high-tech optronics products and will be headquartered in Norway, although other details of the new arrangement have not been finalized.[16]

In 2010 the company restructured from fifteen business units into five business areas; Aeronautics, Dynamics, Electronic Defence Systems, Security and Defence Solutions, and Support and Services. According to Saab the restructuring was undertaken to become more market and customer oriented.[17]

In March 2010, BAE Systems sold half of its 20% stake in the company to Investor AB, which then became the major shareholder.[18] In June 2011, the British company sold its remaining stake bringing its 16-year involvement in Saab to an end.[19]

As of August 2020, Investor AB owns a 30.16% stake in the company (39.69% of the voting rights) and is the top owner.[20]

In August 2023, it was announced Saab had acquired the Bedford, UK-based manufacturer of AI-enabled autonomous swarm systems, Blue Bear Research Systems.[21]

In September 2023, it was announced Saab had acquired the San Francisco-headquartered Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning development company, CrowdAI.[22][23]

Aircraft production[edit]

The main focus of aircraft production is fighter aircraft. Saab has been making aircraft since the 1930s, and the jet predecessors of the JAS 39 Gripen were the Tunnan, the Lansen, the Draken and the Viggen. The last civilian models made by Saab were the Saab 340 and Saab 2000. Both were mid-range turboprop-powered airliners. The development and the manufacturing of these aircraft is undertaken in Linköping.

In May 2019, Saab announced plans to locate a new U.S. manufacturing operation in Discovery Park District Aerospace on the west side of the Purdue University campus. The facility will do the final assembly of the T-X advanced jet trainer, which is a plane developed by Boeing and Saab for the United States Air Force.[24]



JAS 39 Gripen
Saab AT4 portable anti-tank weapon
Saab 340 with Erieye radar

Aeronautics offers airborne systems, related subsystems, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and aerostructures. The business area Aeronautics is responsible for airframe structures for JAS 39 Gripen, and whole sections for Airbus, Boeing and NH90; & system development of the JAS 39 Gripen and the Skeldar VTOL UAV. Aeronautics is also partner in the European joint UAV-project Dassault nEUROn, where Saab develop Avionics and is responsible for the overall architecture and design. Marketing and support of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet is also included in the Aeronautics business area.[25]


Dynamics offers ground combat weapons, missile systems, torpedoes, sensor systems, unmanned underwater vehicles such as Sabertooth[26] and signature management systems, remotely operated vehicles for armed forces as well as civil security applications.[27]

Short range weapons offered include Carl-Gustaf, AT4/AT4 CS, STRIX and NLAW. Missile systems offered are RBS 70, RBS 23 and RBS 15.


Surveillance offers airborne surveillance (including GlobalEye, Saab 2000 Erieye) AEW&C and fighter radar, ground-based and naval radar (including the Giraffe radar range), electronic warfare (including IDAS and ESTL) and combat systems and C4I. [28]

Industrial Products and Services[edit]

Industrial Products and Services was established on 1 January 2015 and comprises the business units Combitech, Avionics Systems, Aerostructures, Traffic Management, Vricon as well as the development of product ideas that fall outside of Saab's core business.

The business units within Industrial Products and Services differ from Saab's other operations by their focus on business-to-business (B2B) customers or because they are not dependent on Saab's principal end-customers. Other business areas within Saab have a customer base largely consisting of public authorities. With different customer groups come different management strategies and priorities. Opportunities to strengthen these operations in the long term are greater in the new organisation. Industrial Products and Services will work with individual growth strategies for each business unit.

Support and Services[edit]

Support and Services offer maintenance, integrated support, field facilities, logistics and regional aircraft maintenance.[29]

Saab Aircraft Leasing leases and resells Saab aircraft to airlines. It completed 30 transactions in 2010.[30]

Saab Barracuda LLC[edit]

The Saab Barracuda LLC facility in Lillington, North Carolina, manufactures signature management products and provides customized services. Foremost among the camouflage, concealment and deception products is the Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net System (ULCANS) which provides multi-spectral protection against visual, near infrared, thermal infrared and broadband radar detection. ULCANS is fielded with the U.S. Army and other Department of Defense organizations and is available in both woodland and desert versions.[31] Saab Barracuda is one of only two qualified suppliers of ULCANS in North America, and currently has a competed US$1.76 billion contract, along with GMA Cover Corp.[32]

Saab Kockums[edit]

Submarine division Kockums acquisition.[33]


Military aircraft[edit]

  • Saab 17 (bomber/dive-bomber: manufactured 1941–1944, 323 built)
  • Saab 18 (twin-engine bomber and reconnaissance aircraft: manufactured 1944–1948, 245 built)
  • Saab 21 (twin-boom push-prop fighter/attack aircraft: manufactured 1945–1949, 298 built)
  • Saab 21R (jet-powered version of Saab 21: manufactured 1950–1952, 64 built)
  • Saab 29 Tunnan (first purpose-built jet fighter: manufactured 1950–1956, 661 built)
  • Saab 32 Lansen (attack aircraft: manufactured 1953–1959, 450 built)
  • Saab 35 Draken (fighter: manufactured 1955–1974, 644 built)
  • Saab 37 Viggen (fighter/attack/reconnaissance aircraft: manufactured 1970–1990, 329 built)
  • Saab JAS 39 Gripen (multirole fighter: introduced 1996, 306 built as of 2020)
  • Saab 105 (twin engine trainer: manufactured 1963–1972, 192 built)
  • Saab 340 AEW&C (airborne early warning and control aircraft: manufactured 1994–1999, 12 built)
  • Boeing T-7 Red Hawk (advanced pilot training aircraft: developed by Boeing in partnership with Saab Group, 2 demonstrators built, 351 trainers to be purchased by the USAF)
  • BAE Systems Tempest (sixth generation fighter developed in partnership with BAE Systems and Leonardo)

Cancelled military aircraft projects[edit]

  • Saab 36 (bomber, 1950s, none built)
  • Saab 38 (attack/trainer, 1970s, none built)

Civilian aircraft[edit]

Saab Safir 91B trainer airplane shortly after takeoff from Hahnweide airfield
  • Saab 90 Scandia (32 passenger short-/medium-haul aircraft: manufactured 1946–1954, 18 built)
  • Saab 91 Safir (single engine trainer: manufactured 1946–1966, 323 built)
  • MFI-15 Safari/MFI-17 Supporter (single engine trainer: manufactured 1971 – late 70s, ca 250 built)
  • Saab 340 (30–35 passenger short-haul aircraft: manufactured 1983–1999, 459 built)
  • Saab 2000 (50–58 passenger high-speed turboprop airliner: manufactured 1992–1999, 63 built)

Experimental aircraft[edit]

Unmanned aerial vehicles[edit]


Naval Combat Management Systems[edit]

Naval Integrated Communication Systems[edit]

Naval Radar Systems[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Wallenberg family holds its stake through the companies Investor AB and Wallenberg Investments AB.


  1. ^ "Annual and Sustainability Report 2022" (PDF). Saab AB. pp. 95, 98, 169–170. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 May 2023. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Andersson, Lennart (1990). Svenska flygplan : Den svenska flygindustrins historia : history of the Swedish aviation industry. Stockholm: Allt om hobby. pp. 102–121, 156-173 178-235.
  3. ^ "Saab's Griffin Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place". Brand New. 15 January 2013. Archived from the original on 29 May 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "History and Background: Timeline, Video". Saab AB. US: 1 January 1980. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  5. ^ Chapman, Giles (May 2009). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Automobiles. Dorling Kindersley. p. 118. ISBN 9781405336956. Archived from the original on 19 April 2023. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b Gunston, Bill (2005). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers, 2nd Edition. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, ENG, UK: Sutton Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 0-7509-3981-8.
  7. ^ "History of Saab". Swedecar. 1 September 1939. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  8. ^ "1984–1994", History, Investor AB, archived from the original on 4 March 2016, retrieved 14 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Saab Automobile AB company", History, Funding universe, archived from the original on 4 March 2012, retrieved 21 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Patricia AB launches a tender offer for Saab-Scania AB from Investor AB", Deal snapshot, AlacraStore[permanent dead link].
  11. ^ "Official financial history", Company overview, Scania, archived from the original on 19 March 2015, retrieved 21 April 2012.
  12. ^ Annual report (PDF) (Investor report), Investor AB, 31 March 1998, archived (PDF) from the original on 15 September 2019, retrieved 21 April 2012.
  13. ^ History of Saab, Swedecar, archived from the original on 15 June 2018, retrieved 8 July 2008.
  14. ^ Saab has acquired further shares in Celsius, Saab, archived from the original on 17 February 2015.
  15. ^ "New Kid on the Block", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 169 (17): 16.
  16. ^ "Saab presents new operating and management structure". Saab. 9 September 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  17. ^ "BAE Systems sells 10pc stake in Saab". The Telegraph. 5 March 2010. Archived from the original on 15 September 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  18. ^ O'Doherty, John (8 June 2011). "BAE offloads Saab aerospace stake". FT. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  19. ^ "Ownership". Saab Corporate. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Saab acquires UK-based BlueBear Systems Group". 31 August 2023. Archived from the original on 31 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  21. ^ Demarest, Colin (7 September 2023). "Sweden's Saab snags Silicon Valley-based CrowdAI". C4ISRNet. Archived from the original on 8 September 2023. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  22. ^ Joshi, Ameet V. (2 September 2022), "Essential Concepts in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning", Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 7–20, ISBN 978-3-031-12281-1, retrieved 11 September 2023
  23. ^ "Saab announces plans to open next-generation fighter jet plant near Purdue University". WLFI News. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  24. ^ "The business area Aeronautics". Saab. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  25. ^ Jonathan Amos (5 July 2021). "Renewed quest to find Shackleton's lost Endurance ship". BBC News. Archived from the original on 5 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  26. ^ "The business area Dynamics". Saab. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  27. ^ "Business Areas". Saab Corporate. Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  28. ^ "The business area Support and Services". Saab. 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  29. ^ "Saab Aircraft Leasing doubles aircraft transactions". Flight global. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  30. ^ "Introduction", Saab Barracuda, Saab, archived from the original on 8 January 2011, retrieved 29 December 2010.
  31. ^ "USA'S Ulcans contract up to 173 bn for multi-spectral camouflage nets", Defense industry daily, archived from the original on 22 October 2011, retrieved 28 December 2010.
  32. ^ Kerin, John (11 September 2014), "Swedes launch desperate bid for Oz submarine project", The Australian Financial Review, archived from the original on 17 September 2014, retrieved 12 September 2014, 'As of July 2, Saab completed a full takeover of Kockums [the designer of Australia's existing Collins class submarines] which is now Saab Kockums and the Swedish Kingdom now controls the intellectual property for the Collins class submarines'.
  33. ^ Erripis, Ioannis K (15 April 2013), "Saab's new stealth fighter program", Aerospace, Robot pig, archived from the original on 25 December 2016, retrieved 13 February 2014, Saab is investigating the design of the next generation fighter that will someday eventually replace the Gripen. […] a small research program that SAAB is conduction with the University of Linköping. […] It looks similar to the Gripen and the main difference is the V-tail.
  34. ^ Glowacki, Bartosz (13 July 2010). "Sweden to advance Generic future fighter concept". Saab plots bright future for Gripen programme. Farnborough: Flight global (Flight international). Archived from the original on 15 September 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2014. Sweden's decades-long history of innovation in the aerospace sector is also evidenced by its Generic Future Fighter (GFF) concept. Developed by the Fluid and Mechatronic Systems division at Linköping University's department of Management and Engineering, the design has a Gripen-like fuselage with canards and canted tails.
  35. ^ Nordin, Peter; Jouannet, Christopher; Krus, Petter (30 August 2011), Flumes Flies a Demonstrator of a Generic Future Fighter Aircraft, SE: LIU, archived from the original on 4 April 2015, retrieved 13 February 2014


External links[edit]