Tag Archives: Swedish Air Force

Two Russian attack planes intentionally violated the Swedish airspace to probe local air defense

Two Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer attack jets violated the Swedish airspace to probe the Swedish Air Force readiness.

On Sept. 17, two Russian Su-24 Fencer combat planes intentionally violated Sweden’s airspace the Expressen newspaper reported.

According to the Swedish media outlet the incursion saw the two aircraft skirt the Polish airspace before heading north, at low altitude, towards the island Öland, in the Baltic Sea. At around 12:00 PM LT, the Russian planes entered the airspace over the Swedish territorial waters south of Öland.

Swedish Defense officials confirmed some Jas-39 Gripen fighters were scrambled from Ronneby airbase, in southern Sweden, to intercept the Russian planes but they did not reach the intruders as the Su-24s, after flying a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border, turned again eastbound, most probably towards Kaliningrad.

Even though the Swedish Armed Forces have not officially commented the incident, sources who talked to the Expressen said authorities believe the violation was aimed at probing the Swedish air defense readiness.

Last year Russian Tu-22 bombers conducted some mock attacks on Sweden; more recently an airliner almost collided with a Russian spyplane off Sweden. The increased Russian activity in the area and the crisis with Moscow caused by the situation in Ukraine, pushed Stockholm to move some Gripen jets to Gotlad island, off the eastern coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea.

The Su-24 Fencer is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union and serving, among the others, with the Syrian, Iranian and Libyan Air Force.  It’s twin-engined two-seater plane with a variable geometry wing, designed to perform ultra low level strike missions.

H/T to Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up

Image credit: File photo Swedish Air Force


Join the Swedish Air Force on a reconnaissance sortie with a Gripen during IAM2014

A series of photos will bring you aboard a Swedish Gripen during a IAM2014 mission over Iceland.

As we reported last week, from Feb. 3 to 21, Iceland Air Meet 2014 saw fighter planes from Sweden, Norway and Finland fly two to three daily waves in Iceland’s airspace, launching from Keflavik, the main operating base of the exercise.

The following photos, provided by the Swedish Air Force’s 212 Squadron, bring you aboard one of the seven JAS-39 Gripens the Swedish deployed to Keflavik, during some of the reconnaissance missions flown during IAM2014.

During such missions the Swedish Gripens carried the Reccelite pod as done during the Libya Air War in 2011 when the JAS-39 operated from Sigonella airbase in Sicily.

Colt 21 linedup

“Colt 21″ flight of two lined up on runway 11 for take-off.

Colt 21 enroute

“Colt 21″ heading for the CAP (Combat Air Patrol) station over the Atlantic after topping off the tanks with Swedish C-130 tanker “Esso 32″.

IAM2014 formation

A 3-ship formation with a Gripen as the leader, overhead Keflavik.


Time for some snacks!

Image credit: Swedish Armed Forces, 212 Fighter Squadron


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Viggens operating from improvised airstrips in the forest: Cold War in Sweden

In Sweden, almost any strip road is a runway that can be used by Swedish Air Force fighter planes.

Here’s an interesting video, shot during the last days of the SAAB Viggen in Swedish Air Force service. The footage, shot in 2004, shows the underground bunkers that can still be found all over Sweden, and the operations connected to a “war time practice”.

During the Cold War period, Sweden could not expect its 30 airbases to survive an attack for more than a few hours. For this reason, the 1,000 planes of the Swedish Air Force were prepared to operate from mini airbases and straight roads around them, that would allow aircraft to take off and recover.

In case of crisis or just for training goals, aircraft would move from standard airbases to strips dispersed and partly hidden in the woods.

JAS-37 Viggen shown in the video have been retired and replaced by the SAAB Gripen.

H/T to Robin Vleij for the heads-up


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[Report] Iceland Air Meet 2014 at Keflavik airbase

NATO conducted a wide range air defence-related exercise in Iceland.

Personnel and weapons systems from Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden took part in the Iceland Air Meet 2014 (IAM2014) exercise, which took place between Feb. 3 and 21 in Iceland.

The large exercise took advantage of the concurrent deployment in Iceland of a Royal Norwegian Air Force detachment, involved in the regular NATO peacetime preparedness mission, although NATO mission and IAM 2014 remained two separate events.

For the first time ever, IAM 2014 saw the deployment to Iceland of aircraft from the Finnish and Swedish air forces, which took the opportunity to improve interoperability with both NATO and non-NATO members within the NORDEFCO (Nordic Defense Cooperation).


All the assets were placed under operational control of the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany which managed and coordinated the flying activities.


Keflavik was the main operating base of IAM 2014, where all aircraft were based. Serials spotted during the exercise were as follows.

Royal Norwegian Air Force: 675, 667, 293, 660, 688 (all F-16As) and 711 (F-16B)
Finnish Air Force: HN-457, HN-456, HN-454, HN-450, HN-416 (F/A-18s)
Finland Army: NH-207, NH-211 (NH-90s)
Sweden AF: 260, 263, 265, 271,  285, 286 (JAS-39 Gripens) and 837 (JAS-39 two seater); 84002 – (K)C130


At least one U.S. Air Force KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall supported the exercise, during which lots of sonic booms, even registered on seismometers, and low-flying “by six fighters trailing each other” in the West Fjords were reported.

Missions were flown two or three times a day, weekdays, usually 10:00, 14:00 and 19:00 hrs (+/-30 min) and take off and landing procedures usually lasting 30+ min each.

Usually each wave included four/five F-16 (doing Airspace Policing) and four Gripen and three F/A-18 flying per mission (11 or 12 fighters) plus tankers.

With the help of the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we had the opportunity to attend the media day of IAM 2014 at Keflavik and The Aviationist’s reporter Eggert Norðdahl took the images you can see in this article.

Noteworthy, during the media day there was a bomb threat (that was actually a hoax) on a Wow Air Airbus A320 that delayed the take off of all the fighter jets by one hour.


Image credit: The Aviationist / Eggert Norðdahl


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Low Level Flying with the Legendary SAAB J-37 Viggen in Sweden

Here’s an interesting video, showing the SAAB J-37 Viggen at work in Sweden some years ago.

The footage brings you in the cockpit of the Swedish Air Force’s delta wing plane, at very low level, over unpopulated areas covered by snow and on the range, to fire rockets.

It was filmed by the F21 (21st Wing) at Luleå and Vidsel air bases.

The front line Viggen aircraft were retired from the Swedish Air Force in November 2005 and replaced by JAS 39 Gripen. A few examples were kept flying for electronic warfare training against Gripen before being eventually retired in June 2007.



H/T to Lars-Gunnar Holmström for sending the link to the video.


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