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The Saab 17 is a Swedish single-engine monoplane reconnaissance dive-bomber aircraft of the 1940s originally developed by ASJA prior to its merger into Saab.

It was the first all-metal stressed skin aircraft developed in Sweden.

The project was initiated in response to a 1938 request from the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) for a reconnaissance aircraft to replace the obsolete Fokker S 6 (C.Ve) sesquiplane.

Design work began at the end of the 1930s as the L 10 by ASJA, but once accepted by the Flygvapnet it was assigned the designations B 17 and S 17 for the bomber and reconnaissance versions respectively, and it became better known as the Saab 17.

The design chosen was a conventional mid-wing cantilever monoplane with a long greenhouse canopy and a single radial engine in the nose.

Control surfaces were covered in fabric, but the remainder was stressed skin duraluminum.

It could be fitted with wheels or skiis, both of which retracted straight to the rear along the underside of the wing, leaving prominent fairings, and when fitted with wheels the undercarriage doors could be used as dive brakes.

A retractable tailwheel was provided.

A floatplane version was built in small numbers for coastal reconnaissance to replace the obsolete Svenska S 5, with massive fairings joining the floats to the wings where the wheels would have been.

To maintain stability small vertical fins were added to the horizontal stabilizer.

The wings were reinforced so that it could be used as a dive bomber and bomb racks were provided under the wings, along with a small bomb bay below the cockpit, although some examples used a conventional rack on the centreline, while on the bomber versions, a crutch was fitted to swing the bomb clear of the aircraft in vertical diving attacks, when the bomb could otherwise have passed through the propeller.

The reconnaissance versions lacked the crutch. Split flaps broken into four segments were fitted to the underside trailing edge of the wing.

Two L 10 prototypes were ordered, the first being powered by an 880 hp (660 kW) Bristol Mercury XII radial engine built by Nohab in Sweden, and the second with an imported 1,065 hp (794 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp C radial.

Supplies of suitable engines remained a major problem and resulted in the aircraft being built in three versions with different engines.

The definitive B 17A used the Swedish-built STWC-3 (Swedish Twin Wasp C-3), an unlicenced copy of the R-1830.

The B 17B used a Bristol Mercury XXIV built by Svenska Flygmotor AB (SFA) in Sweden, and the B 17C used an imported 1,060 hp (790 kW) Piaggio P.XI radial from Italy.

The United States government denied a request to purchase a licence to build the Twin Wasp, so an unlicensed, reverse engineered copy was built instead as the STWC-3 (Swedish Twin Wasp C-3) to supplement and replace the lower powered Mercury radials already being built under licence. 

Until production caught up to demand, the earliest aircraft being delivered were flown to their destinations, the engines were removed and shipped back, to be used on the next aircraft to be delivered.


Company designations

L 10

Internal ASJA/Saab designation

Two produced

L 10A

Internal ASJA/Saab designation for 17A, B, and C

L 10BL

Internal ASJA/Saab designation for S17BL

L 10BS

Internal ASJA/Saab designation for S17BS

Flygvapnet designations

P 7

L 10 development prototypes

B 8

Preliminary designation for bomber version of L 10, not used

B 17A

Bomber with 1,065 hp (794 kW) Svenska Flygmotor Aktiebolaget (SFA)-built STWC-3 (Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp) radial engine; 132 built

B 17B

Bomber with 980 hp (730 kW) SFA-built Bristol Mercury XXIV radial engine; 55 built

B 17C

Bomber with 1,060 hp (790 kW) Piaggio P.XIbis R.C.40D radial engine; 77 built

S 15

Preliminary designation for reconnaissance version of the L 10, not used

S 17BL

Reconnaissance version of B 17B with wheeled or ski landing gear; 21 built

S 17BS

Reconnaissance version of B 17B with floats, powered by a Bristol Mercury XXIV engine; 38 built

A total of 326 Saab 17 aircraft of all types were produced, and some bombers were converted into reconnaissance aircraft.





10 m (32 ft 10 in)


13.7 m (44 ft 11 in)


4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)

Wing area

28.5 m2 (307 sq ft)

Empty weight

2,680 kg (5,908 lb)

Gross weight

3,870 kg (8,532 lb)


1 × Piaggio P.XIbis R.C.40D,

9 cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,

790 kW (1,060 hp)


3-bladed Piaggio P.1001 variable pitch propeller


Maximum speed

435 km/h (270 mph, 235 kn)

Cruise speed

370 km/h (230 mph, 200 kn)

Minimum control speed

125 km/h (78 mph, 67 kn)


1,700 km (1,100 mi, 920 nmi)

Service ceiling

9,800 m (32,200 ft)

Rate of climb

10 m/s (2,000 ft/min)

Wing loading

139 kg/m2 (28 lb/sq ft)


0.220 kW/kg (0.134 hp/lb)



2 × fixed forward-firing 8 mm (0.315 in) Flygplanskulspruta Ksp m/22F (M1919 Browning AN/M2) machine guns

1 × rear cockpit flexible 8 mm (0.315 in) Flygplanskulspruta Ksp m/22R (M1919 Browning AN/M2) machine gun


700 kg (1,500 lb) of bombs could be carried.

Racks were provided under the wings, in an internal bomb bay and externally on the fuselage centreline.



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