SAAB Lansen S 32C

SAAB S 32C Lansen

In the late 1940s the SAAB Company responded to a Swedish Air Force initiative to develop a new jet attack aircraft known as the P1150 to replace various propeller driven aircraft. The specifications for the P1150 were very demanding and stated that the new aircraft had to be able to attack a target anywhere along Sweden’s 1245 miles (2000 km) of coastline within one hour of launch from a central location. The aircraft had to be all-weather day/night capable and have an integrated electronics and weapons system. The aircraft’s armament would consist of four 20mm cannon, rockets, bombs and/or a new anti-ship missile then under development and known as the Rb 04. The result was the SAAB J 32 Lansen (Lance) and the first prototype flew in Sep 1952 and the aircraft was powered by a licensed-built version of the Rolls-Royce Avon RA7R engine, designated the RM 5A2.

The first version of the Lansen that was produced was the attack version, designated the A 32A which entered service with the Flygvapnet in 1955 and by 1957 no less than 12 squadrons were equipped with this aircraft and about a quarter of the aircraft were equipped with the French-designed PS-431/A radar. A total of 287 Lansen A 32A aircraft were eventually built and the type remained in service until 1978 when it was replaced by the SAAB 37 Viggen. The next type produced was an all-weather fighter version, the J 32B, which featured an uprated Avon Series 200 engine, designated the RM6A. A total of 118 J32Bs were delivered between 1958-60 and at one stage it equipped seven squadrons.

SAAB S 32C Lansen

The final production version of the Lansen was the S 32C, a dedicated maritime and photo reconnaissance version, developed from the original A 32A version and a total of 44 aircraft were delivered between 1958-9. All the aircraft were fitted with the modified PS-432/A radar, optimised for maritime operations and the radar could be photographed to enable the data to be analysed after the sortie. The aircraft could also carry a chaff dispenser and up to twelve 165lb (75kg) photoflashes bombs and were equipped with a radar-warning receiver. Under the fuselage was an egg shaped 600-litre fuel tank that could not be jettisoned.

In the S 32C Lansen the four nose cannons were removed and replaced by a camera bay that could carry up to six cameras, although usually only four were carried. Usually the camera bay carried two SKa 17 short focal length cameras for low-altitude work and two SKa 18 cameras for high-altitude work. Both cameras were made in Britain by Aeronautical and General Instruments of Croydon. The S 32C can usually be identified by the small bulges above and in front of the engine intakes that were necessary for the cameras to fit in the camera bay.

A new camera fit was introduced in 1962 and as these cameras were even larger, the nose bulges had to be increased in size. The new fit included two SKa 23 cameras made by Fairchild, optimised for high altitude work and fitted with a motion compensation system. A single wide-angle SKa 15 camera was fitted ahead of the starboard SKa 23 camera, also for high altitude work. A high altitude camera sight, the Jugner FL 82, was fitted behind the port SKa 23 camera. For low altitude work three SKa 16 cameras could be carried, two either side of the lower front part of the camera bay, with the third in the avionics bay.

All the S 32C Lansen aircraft were based at Reconnaissance Wing F 11 at Nykoping and in a service career lasting 20 years the aircraft achieved over 76,500 flying hours. The aircraft remained in service until 1978 when they were retired and replaced by the SH 37 Viggen – two years later F11 disbanded.