5 March 2020

Saab J35D Draken - The Supersonic Kite

The J35 Draken is a Swedish supersonic double delta wing jet fighter of the early Cold War era, renown for its excellent flight characteristics and unique visual appearance. Soon, pilots will have the chance to take control over one of the most iconic jet fighters of the early Cold War in War Thunder update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’!

Briefly: A Swedish double delta wing jet fighter of the late 1950s, featuring excellent maneuverability and a powerful engine, allowing it to reach supersonic speeds.

Saab J35D Draken, jet fighter, Sweden, VI rank.

Pros:

  • Unmatched maneuverability
  • Powerful engine with afterburner
  • Deadly weapons

Cons:

  • Limited ammo count
  • Easily reaches dangerous over G maneuvers
History

In the late 1940s, the Swedish Ministry of Defence released a set of requirements for a new, cutting edge jet interceptor. Among other requirements, the new aircraft was to be capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2 and able to hunt down transsonic bombers, while being easily maintained and capable of taking off from special public roads.

Saab began developing an aircraft around these specifications in the early 1950s and quickly came to the conclusion that a double delta wing design was needed in order to achieve all the requirements. However, this design was yet untried and untested, which led to the creation of the Saab 210 - a testbed aircraft which pioneered the double delta wing design.

Having gained the necessary insight on the performance of the double delta wing, Saab engineers transferred the newly acquired experience into the development of the actual aircraft to address the Ministry’s requirements - the J35 Draken was born.

The J35 Draken undertook its maiden flight in October 1955 and entered service with the Swedish Air Force in March 1960. Over 650 Drakens of various modifications would be built until the end of production, serving with Sweden until the late 1990s before being decommissioned. Apart from Swedish service, the J35 Draken also saw use with Denmark, Finland and Austria. The Austrian Air Force was the last operator to decommission the Draken in 2005, while some units are still in civilian use.

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In War Thunder, the J35 Draken will come to the game as part of update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’, and will immediately become the new top jet fighter available to Swedish pilots with the release of the next update. The Draken is arriving to the game in one of its later variants - the J35D.

The J35D is powered by the Svenska Flygmotor RM6C turbojet engine - a licence-built version of the Rolls-Royce Mk.300 Avon - which generates 5,840 kgf under normal use and up to 7830 kgf with active use of the afterburner. Translated into less scientific numbers, the powerful engine allows the J35D to reach a top speed in excess of 2,150 km/h at an altitude of 11,000m.

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While no doubt very impressive numbers, this doesn’t quite put the J35D on an even playing field with some of the other top performers of other nations, capable of reaching Mach 2 speeds. However, the J35D does hold a significant advantage over its potential opponents, far more impactful than being able to fly at twice the speed sound - namely, unmatched maneuverability.

Fun Fact: The J35 Draken is the first fully supersonic aircraft deployed in Western Europe and also the first aircraft to pioneer the impressive ‘Cobra maneuver’.

Thanks to a combination of its double delta wing design and highly powerful turbojet engine, the J35 Draken is a highly unstable aircraft. What sounds like a negative trait at first, is actually a highly desirable quality for jet fighters as it makes them more maneuverable and responsive. As a result, the Draken will become the most agile jet fighter in the game compared to its immediate adversaries upon its arrival to the game.

Furthermore, the Draken was the first aircraft to pioneer the so called ‘Cobra Maneuver’ - a skillful maneuver initially trained by Swedish pilots as a counter to super stalls, which can however be used defensively in dogfights too in order to lose pursuers and gain an upper hand on your opponent. This maneuver can be replicated by skilled pilots in War Thunder too and we’re already looking forward to seeing what some members of the community will be able to achieve with it!

As far as firepower is concerned, the J35D is a fighter through and through. Armed with a pair of 30mm cannons, with 90 rounds of ammo per gun as its primary weapons, pilots will need to ensure utmost trigger discipline and accuracy in order to make the most out of their guns. Fortunately, the Draken can be further equipped with up to four Rb24 air-to-air missiles in order to expand its abilities during combat. Although not dedicated to it, the Draken can also be used to a limited degree in the ground attack role, thanks to the ability of mounting two types of unguided rockets.

The highly anticipated J35D Draken is arriving to the aerial battlefields of War Thunder very soon™ and will become available to all pilots as the new top Swedish jet fighter with the release of the upcoming update 1.97 ‘Viking Fury’! We’ll see you there pilots!


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