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SAAB JAS 41A "Falk" - Swedish AF Fighter / Bomber What If 1/72


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Hi All

Thought I would share some photos of a recently finished model which had the unusual difference for me of being a What-If inspired aircraft. I should really do more of these RFI posts as they are nice to show off work, and in this case could possibly offer some ideas about different schemes to try than the usual, but for the most part I simply forget to do so! :doh:

Here goes with a back story - amazing how you can get carried away writing these! :lol:

SAAB JAS 41A "Falk" No. 255, Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force), 1994

During the 1980's, the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) required a replacement for the JAS 37 Viggen, and SAAB began work on the next in line of Swedish home-developed aircraft in the form of the JAS 39 Gripen. Development of the new multi-role fighter however was problematic, with major issues arising around the aircraft's stability and flight control systems. The severity of these issues was confirmed when after having already created much concern amongst officials and taken much longer than projected to be ready for test flights, the prototype crashed in 1989.

The loss of the prototype brought the Gripen project to a standstill, and whilst SAAB assured that the project could be brought back on track with the construction of a new prototype, the Swedish authorities demanded that work on the new fighter was to be shelved on the grounds of spiralling development costs and the urgent need of replacements for the Flygvapnet's ageing fighter fleet. The still very real threat posed by the Soviet Union also contributed to the decision, especially as the formidable Sukhoi SU 27 Flanker was then entering widespread service in the East.

Acknowledging that a new home-developed fighter would not be ready for service with the Flygvapnet until the mid to late 1990's at the very earliest, the Swedish authorities saw no other option but to look towards buying a foreign existing fighter "off the shelf" as a stop-gap in order to re-equip squadrons as soon as possible. Submitting a request to procure 120 fighter aircraft, Sweden shortlisted the General Dynamics F 16 Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and Dassault Mirage 2000 for consideration. With the Scandinavian neighbours of Norway and Denmark already using the F 16 Falcon successfully, in Autumn 1990, the Swedish authorities selected the Falcon as best suited to their requirements.

The fighters would be assembled locally by SAAB as the JAS 41A "Falk"; and with production put at high priority, the first Swedish built aircraft was flown in 1992. In common with the RNoAF F 16's they were equipped with tailcone braking parachutes for landing in icy conditions, however minor modifications were made by installing Swedish electronics and systems in order for the aircraft to be compatible with Swedish armament already available.

Deliveries for operational conversion within the Flygvapnet's squadrons began in late 1992, and the aircraft was declared fully operational by summer 1994. The last of the JAS 41A fighters rolled off the production line in 1999.

With the crisis of urgently acquiring a new fighter over, and the JAS 41A "Falk" comfortably settling into Flygvapnet service, in 2006 the Swedish authorities decided to resume development of the Gripen programme, and SAAB restarted the project, improving on all areas where the original prototype had failed whilst making use of the latest technological advancements. Designated JAS 43, the Gripen II first flew in 2012 and is expected to enter service by autumn 2016, serving alongside the JAS 41A until the "Falk" fleet is withdrawn starting from 2020.

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Model is the AMT 1/72nd General Dynamics F 16A Falcon taken from the Thunderbirds display set, brush painted in a scheme using Humbrol colours resembling that of the Gripens we know in service today.

Hope you like the model, and all comments welcome! B)

Daniel

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