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The SAAB 21 is a Swedish single-seat low-wing monoplane fighter and attack aircraft designed and manufactured by SAAB. It used a relatively unorthodox twin boom fuselage with a pusher engine, giving the aircraft an unusual appearance.
The first example from the first batch of 54 of the first production variant, the J 21A-1 was delivered to the Swedish Air Force on 1 December 1945. Construction was at SAAB's main plant in Trollhättan and deliveries of this model ran until 5 December 1946, when deliveries of two batches totalling 124 of the J 21A-2 began. A third order, in two batches totalling 119 of the A21A-3 fighter-bomber completed production of the piston-engine variants. A total of 298 J 21As were constructed prior to the production line ending in 1948.
Despite the original intention for the type to be principally in air defence roles, in service, the J 21 was utilized mainly in the light bomber role. The type was used only by the Swedish Air Force.
Officials doubted its effectiveness due to its unconventional design. In response, the Swedish Air Board requested that SAAB study a development with the engine in the nose as the J 23. This aircraft used the J 21's DB 605B engine and had a more traditional appearance, similar to the North American P-51 Mustang, but its projected performance was reduced, which became a key factor in improving the J 21 instead. The Swedish Air Force became interested in jet propulsion and from 1945, SAAB began studying modifications of the airframe to accommodate a jet engine in place of its piston engine. Production of the piston-engine version continued until 1948 while examples of the new jet engine version began being converted on the line. As a result of the conversions, the piston-engine powered J 21A began being retired in 1954.
Model Scale 1/22
Model Scale 1/22