16 December 2019

SAAB J21A-1: Nordic Exotic

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The SAAB J21 is a Swedish WWII-era twin-boom pusher configuration fighter aircraft, most famously known for its unique visual appearance. Coming to War Thunder as part of the Swedish aviation tree in update 1.95 “Northern Wind”, all pilots will have the chance to take control of this highly unusual Swedish fighter aircraft!

Briefly: The first production version of the J21, featuring good flight characteristics coupled with a formidable weapons arsenal of heavy machine guns and a cannon!

SAAB J21A-1, fighter, Sweden, III rank.

Pros

  • Good speed and maneuverability
  • Hard-hitting weapons

Cons

  • Relatively poor climb rate
History

In 1941, Sweden started a domestic rearmament program in order to bolster the strength of its armed forces in an effort to ensure its neutrality during the ongoing war. Among the branches intended for reinforcement was the Swedish Air Force, which up until this point had mainly been operating foreign, partially outdated aircraft.

The SAAB company had already been working on a design study for a modern fighter aircraft since the early 1940s. Their project had a rather unorthodox design - a single-engine, twin-boom aircraft in a pusher configuration. With the arrival of the 1941 rearmament program, sparking a great interest for domestic aircraft production, SAAB began working on refining their design for mass production.

After further work, three full prototypes were constructed for testing, two of which were fully functional. In July 1943, the prototype of the SAAB 21 first took to the skies for its maiden flight. Production of the SAAB 21 began some time after its maiden flight, with the first aircraft reaching their units in December 1945.

Overall, over 50 J21A-1s were produced before production of the first model stopped by December 1946. In total however, close to 300 piston-engined J21s of all variants were produced before the production run of the type ended in 1949. 

Due to the J21’s introduction to service coinciding with the dawn of the jet age, the type didn’t remain in active service for too long. In fact, the J21 was retired in 1954 - some ten years after its initial introduction - and its only operator remains the Swedish Air Force.

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In War Thunder, the SAAB J21A-1 will be one of the many versions of the J21 awaiting pilots in the upcoming Swedish aviation tree, coming to the game with update 1.95 “Northern Wind”. Thanks to its unique visual appearance, the J21 stands out from other aircraft found in the Swedish aviation tree and because of this, as well as its many other qualities, will undoubtedly quickly become one of the most popular Swedish aircraft in the game!

The J21A-1 is powered by a Swedish licence-built version of the German Daimler-Benz DB605 engine inline engine, generating an impressive 1,450 horsepower. As a result, the J21A-1 is able to reach a top speed of 640 km/h, while the average cruising speed sits around 495 km/h.

Fun Fact: The SAAB J21 was among the first massively produced aircraft in the world to utilize an ejection seat to allow the pilot to safely evacuate the aircraft in case of an emergency.

Although it may not seem like it at first glance, the J21A-1 does feature a relatively formidable weapons arsenal. Being armed with four 13.2mm automatkanon m/39A heavy machine guns and a single 20mm automatkanon m/41A, the J21A-1 is suitably armed to deal with any threat it might come across in the skies - from single-engine fighters to multi-engine heavy bombers.

 

However, while its offensive arsenal is certainly nothing to scoff at, as far as secondary weapons are concerned, the J21A-1 doesn’t have anything to offer to pilots keen on raising hell for tankers on the ground. Due to the complete absence of secondary weapons such as bombs or rockets, the J21A-1 isn’t suited for ground attack runs and will only find limited use in combined battles as a result. On the other hand, for fighter purists it doesn’t come much better than this!

The J21A-1 is coming to War Thunder as part of the brand new Swedish aviation tree with the release of the upcoming update 1.95 “Northern Wind”. In the meantime, make sure to stay tuned to the news for more information regarding the next major update coming to the game. Until then, clear skies pilots!

We remind you that those who have purchased relevant early access packs will have instant access to Swedish Aircraft Tech Tree CBT in the upcoming update 1.95 "Northern Wind".


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