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Saab Viggen Vs Draken


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#1 Dawes

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 1519 PM

Could both these designs be considered equally successful or was one considered more successful than the other?



#2 Yama

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 0328 AM

Viggen was essentially 2 quite different designs - AJ-37 and JA-37.
Probably Draken can be said to be more successful in the sense of its long service and export orders. Viggen was expensive to maintain and became a burden to the air force when Cold War ended. OTOH Draken had horrible accident rate in its first decade of service.

#3 Panzermann

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 0358 AM

But Draken was not noticeably worse than its contemporaries. (F-104 Starfighter...)

 

Has been published what the soviet engineers  thought about the Draken? IIRC the blueprints had been given to the soviets by a swedish Flygwapnet officer.



#4 RETAC21

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 1341 PM

F-104, Mirage III, MiG-21, F-8 and F-5 were all comparable to the Draken, with the F-5 being the worst but not by much, so the deciding factor would be the pilot. Neither of them ever had much BVR capability which is what VIggen brought to the table.



#5 glappkaeft

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 1451 PM

The question is not well defined. More successful at what or in what way?

 

Apply the same question to the F-4 vs F-15...



#6 wendist

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 1907 PM

To me the Viggen is the more successful aircraft. The 37 project (Viggen) was much bigger with a number of variants dedicated to different roles (attack, fighter, photo-reconnaissance, maritime-reconnaissance and trainer) all using one aircraft type that could service the air force in all combat related missions. The fact that SAAB managed to pull this of, being a small company from a small country, is a success in itself.

 

The various sub-versions of Viggen appear to have been quite capable aircrafts, also in comparison with foreign aircrafts and the lack of export orders might have more to do with political/economical factors rather than the aircraft itself.

 

The J 35 Draken was essentially a fighter aircraft with limited air to ground capability, later a photo-reconnaissance version and a trainer was developed but the project as a whole was much smaller than the Viggen project.

 

The J35 Draken remained in service perhaps a bit longer than it should for two reasons.

 

  1. The first version of Viggen to be used by the air force was the attack version (AJ 37) which was put into service in 1973. The fighter version (JA 37) did not get into service until 1980 and during those seven years the J 35 Draken remained the primary fighter aircraft of the swedish air force.

 

b.  Even after the introduction of the JA 37 it was clear that the air force did not have the money to replace the J 35 completely and therefor a number of  squadrons had to keep the J 35. Had you asked the commander of the air force in the early eighties if he would have preferred a uniform Viggen force I am convinced he would have said yes.

 

The decision to keep the J 35 flying for so long seem to have been dictated by necessity rather than anything else.

 

Two things do speak in favour of the J 35.

  1. The turn-around time on the ground was always a good bit shorter with the J 35 than with the 37 (regardless of version).
  2. The J 35 is a much better looking aircraft (IMHO). :D 

Edited by wendist, 05 September 2017 - 1908 PM.


#7 Dawes

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 1912 PM

As far as adaptability to different roles it would seem that Viggen comes out ahead? 



#8 glappkaeft

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 1451 PM

Sort of yes but also no. For the no part, while in Swedish service the Draken was operated sole as a interceptor, two-seat trainer and photo recognizance plane the Danish Draken (Saab 35XD or F-35) was a pure strike version that carried bombs and Bullpup missiles. For the yes part, Viggen was both a later design and it was initially designed to be a strike aircraft with a secondary fighter role. Draken OTOH was designed to be primarily a high performance all-weather interceptor (replacing the day-fighters J 29 Tunnan, J 34 Hawker Hunter and the night-fighters J 32B Lansen, J 33 de Havilland Venom starting in 1960). In short Viggen didn't turn out to be adaptable, it was designed from the start for different roles.

 

The first four Viggen variants where built on the (in practice naval) strike fighter AJ 37 design (106 AJs replacing A 32A Lansen between 1972-78 in Attackeskadern (eng: the Attack Wing) aka the "Supreme Commanders club" since it and its three hundred Rb 04 ASM was held in reserve for invasion defense). The other three variants based on the AJ where photo reconnaissance SF 37 (replacing S 35E Draken between 1976-79), maritime patrol aircraft SH 37 (replacing S 32C Lansen by 1978) and two-seat trainer (SK 37) versions. 

 

The fifth variant was the fighter-interceptor JA 37 that that had a significant list of changes including a slightly longer air frame, more powerful engine, the addition of the huge KCA 30x173 mm revolver cannon, completely new and better avionics which replaced the F 35D and F 35 F Draken between 1980-86 (the remaining J 35J squadrons at F 10 Ängelholm where replaced in 1999 by JAS-39 Gripen). 


Edited by glappkaeft, 06 September 2017 - 1521 PM.


#9 bojan

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 1851 PM

F-104, Mirage III, MiG-21, F-8 and F-5 were all comparable to the Draken, with the F-5 being the worst but not by much, so the deciding factor would be the pilot. Neither of them ever had much BVR capability which is what VIggen brought to the table.

F-5 was hardy worst -  Both F-5A and F-5E in Soviet tests beat MiG-21 easily and gave a lot of trouble to 23 also.



#10 GARGEAN

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0312 AM


F-104, Mirage III, MiG-21, F-8 and F-5 were all comparable to the Draken, with the F-5 being the worst but not by much, so the deciding factor would be the pilot. Neither of them ever had much BVR capability which is what VIggen brought to the table.

F-5 was hardy worst -  Both F-5A and F-5E in Soviet tests beat MiG-21 easily and gave a lot of trouble to 23 also.
Hm, never heard about that. Any additional info?

#11 RETAC21

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0443 AM

 

F-104, Mirage III, MiG-21, F-8 and F-5 were all comparable to the Draken, with the F-5 being the worst but not by much, so the deciding factor would be the pilot. Neither of them ever had much BVR capability which is what VIggen brought to the table.

F-5 was hardy worst -  Both F-5A and F-5E in Soviet tests beat MiG-21 easily and gave a lot of trouble to 23 also.

 

 

Worst, not bad. Differences are academical between all of them, like I said, the final arbiter was the man in the controls, a better trained pilot in a MiG-21 will always best a worse pilot in a F-5.



#12 RETAC21

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0447 AM

Quick Google search brings this up:

 

https://forums.eagle...ad.php?t=144200

 

"In the summer of 1976 a disassembled American F-5 fighter jet was delivered to our base at Aktubinsk. To be correct, it was F-5E - the latest variant with increased engines thrust. By the size it was smaller than MiG-21, had two engines installed side-by-side in the fuselage, a sharp swept-down nose and short tapered wings. The war in Vietnam had finished, and the United States Air Forces were leaving this long-suffering country, hastily abandoning several aircraft of this type on one of the airfields. One of them was handed over to the USSR together with its pilot manual. There were no technical descriptions, but our engineers figured everything out, assembled it to the last bolt and made it flyable, bringing not only the foreign hard pieces together, but also tons of electric wiring. A test brigade was formed to conduct special flight tests, and a program was written, which assumed 35-40 test flights. I was one of the test pilots, our lead was Nikolay Stogov.

After a proper training I was trusted to perform the first speed run on the runway and then a run with a 3-6 feet jump. These precautions had their reasons in our uncertainty, that all the systems had been assembled and connected correctly.

And finally, we were alone. The "Foreigner" hid within. From the manual I knew, that it had had no problems in operation whatsoever. But I also knew that every manufacturer had their own zest in the product. Unlike our fighters in production, the "Foreigner" had brakes on pedals, which we had on heavy aircraft only. The cockpit was not cluttered by various switches and circuit breakers unneeded in flight. They were all concentrated in a single horizontal "stock" away from the working area. I understood that F-5 was a way not the most modern plane and that it was inferior even to MiG-21, but, nonetheless, I liked the cockpit layout. I decided to make the run on the second runway, which was the longest one. "There is never too much runway ahead," I thought, taxiing to the runway. It was the winter of 1976-77. Of course, there was no reason to hide I was proud that the only aircraft of this type available in the USSR was trusted to me.

I turned on the extension of the nose strut - the electrohydraulic retractor engaged, and the nose of the aircraft started to "crawl" up. "How about that?" I shook my head surprised. "Couldn't you do without it on this little one?" As for me, not a common way to reduce your takeoff roll. In the USSR, only Myasischev used this on M-3 and M-4 - the heavy long-range bombers with a tandem gear layout, thus with very short nose struts.

"Alright," I thought, "we kneeled, so let's run. It is awkward to fool around this way." I increased thrust and released the brakes. The aircraft started to roll. It rolled evenly, reluctantly gaining speed. Aha! That's why they raise the nose strut! The engines are feeble, and the wing is too small. I lifted the nosewheel off the ground and held the airplane from the premature liftoff. Enough for this time. I powered back and lowered the nose. And then... what the heck? The entire nose started to shake and vibrate, then it started to wander left and right so violently, I thought it would just fall the hell off in a moment. Something was screeching and rumbling below. My first thought was about the nosewheel shimmy, but then I realized the nosewheel had been destroyed. I pulled the drag chute handle. "Not the brakes... Main wheels damage is the last thing we need: we don't have spares," the thoughts were rushing in my mind. Gradually reducing the speed, I stopped. I switched everything off, opened the canopy and impatiently jumped down onto the tarmac. I looked and I was puzzled: the wheel was intact. "That's strange! So what were you so unhappy with?" I looked at the "Foreigner" suspiciously. It turned out that he was unhappy with our runway condition: rough grooves and seams were so deep, and the surface of the concrete was decayed, so he just didn't stand it. One bolt was cut off, and the strut together with the wheel was turning around.

- "Nice! Ours don't do things like that," I gave his nose a pat and whispered: "Don't worry, we'll find a new bolt for you and you'll gallop around again!"

As I got to know the "Foreigner" I grew up in my respect to him both as to the flying machine and as to the fighter jet. Unapt to aggressive maneuvering when in "cruise" configuration (flaps and slats up), he would have changed when the pilot put it into the "maneuvering" configuration (flaps and slats down). Then from a heavy clodhopper he turned into a swallow. Checking out the capabilities of the optical sight, I enjoyed keeping the reticle on the target while attacking with a 6g pull, whereas on MiG-21 it would disappear from the view at 3g.

After determining the basic specification we decided to set up for a mock air-to-air combat with MiG-21bis. I would fight on my "native" MiG-21, and Nikolay Stogov - on F-5. The close air combat started head-on in equal positions. Every flight ended with the same result: MiG-21 lost, although he had much higher thrust-to-weight ratio. I laid myself out just to keep the initial position. I took the most out of the aircraft, took all he could give, but the targeting angle grew steadily and in a few minutes the "bandit" was on my tail. Only tactics could save me. What I was stricken by the most is that the result of the mock fights took not only the generals by surprise (one could explain this somehow), but also the military research departments of the Air Force and even the aviation engineers. They would review the data records for thousand times, ask the pilots, especially me. Frankly, I was somewhat confused as well, but when I tried the F-5, I realized that it was not an ordinary one.

So, what was happening in flight? At the speeds of 800 km/h (430 kts) and above the fight was on equal terms, nobody had explicit advantages, but the fighting was not literally maneuvering because of the large radii of the maneuvers. We would both stay at the equal maximum allowable g-loads. Whilst at the speeds below 750 km/h (400 kts) one couldn't sustain these g-loads even with the afterburner. And the lower the speed was the faster it decayed, thus lowering the maximum available g-load. It turned out that the aerodynamics was what won the day, not the thrust/weight ratio. But how was I to explain all this to the people above? They wouldn't have patted our backs for this. Then the MiG company representatives suggested:

- "Let's set MiG-23M against him."

- "But they cannot be compared to one another; they are from different generations." The chief of our research institute objected.

The chief of our institute, colonel general I. Gaidayenko had been a fighter-pilot during World War II and a wingman of the very P. Kutakov, who was the supreme commander of the Air Force at the time of our struggle with the F-5. The result of the test flights was supposed to be reported to Kutakov.

- "So what? We will kick his ass anyway!" 2nd lead engineer of MiG-23M spoke out, rubbing his hands in expectance of the revenge.

Well, the ass was kicked, for sure... but one of our own. The result was the same with the only exception that the agony lasted for 4-5 minutes. You have also to keep in mind that I had been considered a pilot capable of any stall and spin recovery and I had been permitted to break any angle of attack limitations. In the dogfight, I set the optimal wing sweep manually, but all in vain. The foreigner would slowly, but steadily, approach my tail. After these flights all calmed down for some time, all discussions ceased. The chief of the RI ordered to promptly compile a statement on the tests and directed me and Stogov to Moscow, to the Central Research Institution No. 30, which was involved in elaboration of the long-term problems of aviation advancement.

Paying a visit to one of its departments we asked, what they could tell us about the MiG-21 advantages over the F-5E.

- "Oh!" The military scientists immediately exclaimed. "With pleasure! There is a fray right now between Ethiopia and Somalia, and these very aircraft fight each other there. And we are busy preparing recommendations for the pilots on how to successfully fight the F-5 in aerial combat."

- "And what you've got?" I asked with an interest.

- "Take a look at the graph of the attack success probability. See? We beat him everywhere."

- "Indeed," I droned, looking at the so familiar graph in front of me and feeling somewhat hurt for the "Foreigner".

- "And what're the odds?" My friend asked, making a face of a village gull.

- "We've got much better thrust-to-weight ratio," the scientist replied in a voice of a mentor, who knew his worth.

- "Alright, then could you read this Statement and give us your final conclusion, please? And..."

- "And we'll go have a lunch," Nikolay suggested, "You know, on an errand it's like in defense: the meal is the ultimate thing."

This was the end of our work on the comparative evaluation of the "Foreigner" and our Soviet fighters. I don't know what kind of discussions were held "up there", but I know for sure, that the recommendations for the Ethiopian pilots were changed. Our "experts" suggested not to engage in a close dogfight, but to use the "hit-and-run" tactics instead. What about MiG-23, everyone preferred to forget about it. You bet! It had been supposed to fight even more advanced aircraft! Our Statement was classified as top secret and removed somewhere away from the eyes. The "Foreigner" was given to the aviation industry specialists with a strict clause: no flying, but to disassemble and study the structural features to use the knowledge in further projects. Some time passed, and the Su-25 close air support aircraft emerged. It had the wheel brakes on the rudder pedals, "maneuvering" wing configuration and a different approach to the cockpit layout. In the terms of the pilot workstation our engineers went even further, and nowadays the cockpit of MiG-29 can serve as an exemplar for similar foreign combat aircraft. The same can be said about the aerodynamics. The aerodynamic capabilities of Su-27 fighter are considered unexcelled so far. It appears that what is clear for one is a revelation for the other. I believe that similar situations arose in the USA as well, as they got our aircraft at times from MiG-21 to MiG-29. We had luck only once."

 

From Joe Baugher's page:

 

87 F-5As and 27 F-5Es were left behind when the South Vietnamese government fell in 1975. These were pressed into service with the Vietnamese People's Air Force. There are reports that these planes were used by Vietnam during its invasion of neighboring Kampuchea in 1978. In 1979, nine Tigers were reported to be operating from bases near Hanoi as part of a composite squadron also equipped with the MiG-21. The Hanoi unit is believed to have been joined by three other F-5/MiG-21 regiments, marking one of the rare instances in which US and Soviet aircraft operated side-by-side. However, this mix of types caused severe logistical difficulties, and it was decided that the F-5s should be concentrated in just one unit, the 935th Fighter regiment based at Da Nang.

The F-5E/Fs were reportedly more popular with their Vietnamese crews than were the Russian-built aircraft that provided the primary strength of the Vietnamese air force, which is a a rather unique testimonial. They were particularly appreciative of the comfortable cockpits and the ease of handling of the F-5. However, the lack of spare parts and replacements gradually took its toll, and led to a need for cannibalization and to the gradual reduction of the numbers of F-5Es available for service.

A couple of Vietnamese F-5Es (the exact number is uncertain) were sent to Eastern-bloc nations for evaluation. One ex-Vietnamese F-5E arrived in Poland in 1977, where it was disassembled and evaluated. It is now on display at Cracow. Another ex-Vietnamese F-5E (73-0878) made it to Czechoslovakia, and it now resides in the Kbely museum near Prague. Others were decommissioned and put on display at museums in Vietnam.

Since the spares problem was becoming more and more acute as time passed, there were several attempts by the Vietnamese government to sell its captured F-5s to other customers. Some were passed along to Iran and Ethiopia as spares. By now, it seems likely that no F-5Es remain flying in Vietnam, the lack of spares probably leading to their grounding, despite cannibalization. Several F-5s are now on display in Vietnamese museums.



#13 Panzermann

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0733 AM

great write-up. :)

 

An awesome testpilot that he noticed that the bolt had sheared off. Also the the cover-up that the F-5 was aerodynamically superior to not embarass anyone.

 

 

A write-up of the vietnamese air force take on the F-5 and how it compares would be good. Having experience with both MiG-21 and F-5.



#14 lastdingo

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0828 AM

IIRC the Draken had a terrible limitation of its hardpoints/pylons; a limitation to 1,000 lbs (=what i remember) or some other way too restrictive weight limit.

This explains the lack of photos showing Drakens with big fuel tanks or heavy bombs or heavy missiles.

 

There should be no doubt that the F-104 was the worst of the listed aircraft, save for very short very low altitude dashes with nukes or cameras.



#15 RETAC21

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 0840 AM

In F-104 you fight in the vertical. Neither of them were remarkable bomb trucks, though the best would be the F-5.



#16 Dawes

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 1108 AM

How was Draken's performance at the lower altitudes?



#17 Olof Larsson

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 1253 PM

How was Draken's performance at the lower altitudes?

 

As I recall it, pilots were not allowed to go >mach0,[email protected]<500m.

The recon version also had issues with not being able to take sharp photographs at high altitude.

 

Furthermore, the fighter versions took a long time before they reached the level, the AF aspected from the start. Whis was because of delays of the radar and (the highly automated and digital) Stril 60 GCI-system.

 

The AJ37 had problems very early on, with cracks in the wings, and the aircraft (like the preceding A32) never had the range the airforce wanted.

So one pylon was virtually always used for fuel, two were never used, and two were rarely used.

So instead of having the intended 7-9 pylons for ordnance and other non-fuel stores, they typically had only 4-6.

That said, the MMI was considered (and probably was) world leading, and unlike the previous A32, the aircrafts were not completely useless in combat, when the last aircraft was delivered.



#18 Dawes

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 1306 PM

I take it that Austria was reasonably satisfied with their Drakens?


Edited by Dawes, 09 September 2017 - 1306 PM.


#19 Panzermann

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 1752 PM

I take it that Austria was reasonably satisfied with their Drakens?

 

Sweden sold them for a song and Austria was desperately in need of a Mach 2 aeroplane. They were delivered in 1987 (sic! ) when the plane was horribly outdated already. The development of the Draken goes back to 1949 :excl:

 

becuse the swedish air force could not provide enough training hours on two seat Drakens the two seat trainer viggens were also used and it was much liked by austrain pilots to atleatst once fly a modern plane.



#20 DougRichards

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 2212 PM

But Draken was not noticeably worse than its contemporaries. (F-104 Starfighter...)

 

Has been published what the soviet engineers  thought about the Draken? IIRC the blueprints had been given to the soviets by a swedish Flygwapnet officer.

 

The major 'contemporary' to the Draken was being flown not that far away:  The EE Lightning.






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