At that time there was limited understanding of supersonic aviation, which is why the "double delta" configuration had been tested earlier in 1952 using the specially developed Saab 210 "Little Dragon" experimental aircraft. The maiden flight was carried out on 25 October 1955 by Bengt Olow and shortly afterwards, in January 1956, the Draken broke the sound barrier while climbing and without afterburner!
Series delivery of the first version, J 35A, started at the end of 1959. New versions were developed and delivered up to 1977 by which time a total of 611 aircraft had been built. On 8 December 1998, the Draken was retired after nearly 40 years service in the Swedish Air Force.
Draken was Saab's first military aircraft to have been exported in significant numbers. The Danish, Finnish and Austrian air forces purchased a total of 122 aircraft, some of which had been previously used by the Swedish Air Force. Draken continues to be used in the USA for training test pilots.
Data and performance
Engine: RR Avon Mk 60/RM 6C, 7,760 hp with afterburner
Max. take-off weight: 10,440 kg
Max. speed: Mach 2
Max. altitude: 14,500 m