J 21A - SAAB J 21A (1945-1954)

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The unconventional twin-boom fighter J 21A made its first flying trials in July 1943. Negotiating with the German authorities had secured the license for the manufacturing of the  Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine (1475 hp) in Sweden. A more powerful engine  would have been preferred,  but the SAAB designers tried to compensate the lack of engine power by providing the design  with increased fire power and better visibility and manoeuvreability.  

The J 21A was made in three versions: 

J 21A-1: The first version, armed with four 13,2 mm and one 20 mm Hispano automatic cannon. 54 aircraft were manufactured and delivered between December 1945 to December 1946.

 J 21A-2: Two batches of each 62 airframes were delivered between July 1946 to November 1947. They were armed with Swedish-made Bofors cannons and modified instrumentation.  

J 21A-3: The ground attack version which consisted of 119 aircraft delivered between May 1947 and January 1949. This version (also designated A 21A) could carry bombs and rockets.

The J 21A suffered all the time from cooling problems when running the engine on the ground.  Due to the risks with the propeller behind the pilot, the J 21 was one of the first aircraft in the world to be fitted with an ejection seat. The J 21 was also built in a jet version powered with the de Havilland Goblin engine (J 21R). See also “Jet Fighters”.  

The J 21A-3  on the photo at top belongs to the F 15 museum at Söderhamn (c/n = Sw AF/n 21311). It carries the markings as "Red (= 1st Squadron) Adam" of Wing F 15. Picture taken at F 7, Såtenäs in June 2000.  

Photo below: The service trials was executed at Wing F 8 at Barkarby. The trials began in December 1945. The 2nd Squadron of F 8 was for this reason provided with a few J 21A-1s. One of these aircraft was "Red Adam" (# 21104). Photo at the SAAB airfield in Linköping. 

Photo at bottom: J 21A-3 # 21377  marked as "Blue Niklas" of the second Squadron of Wing F 9 at Säve near Gothenburg..

J 21A-1: Length: 10,45 m. Span: 11,60 m.  Maximum take-off weight: 4,150 kg. Max. speed: 640 km/h.


For the Model Builder

The model kit maker Heller Humbrol has produced a model kit in scale 1:72 of the J 21A. It includes decals with markings of code blue D of Wing F 6 and code red A of Wing F 9.  Catalouge number 08261.



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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-03-07