SAAB 18

The Saab 18 was a twin-engine bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, designed and built by Svenska Aeroplan AB (SAAB) for use by the Swedish Air Force in response to a 1938 design competition.

Due to delays, it did not enter service until 1944, but quickly became the standard Swedish bomber aircraft.

Serving in the bomber, reconnaissance and ground attack roles, it also assisted in the development of ejection seats and air-to-surface guided missiles until its replacement by the Saab Lansen in the late 1950s.

Variants

Saab 18

One SFA STWC-3 engine B 18A prototype.

The same prototype was later re-engine with SFA DB 605B engines as the prototype for the B 18B.

B 18A

The first production version, bomber aircraft powered by two SFA STWC-3 Twin Wasp radial piston engines and armed with three 13.2 mm akan m/39A auto cannons, one fixed, two movable for defence.

The B 18A was quickly into its service life equipped with bomb forks to be able to dive bomb.

All were converted into S 18A reconnaissance planes in 1946-47.

S 18A

Photo-reconnaissance conversion of B 18A, fitted with PS-18/A radar among other modifications.

B 18B

Dive bomber version, powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 605B piston engines.

It was at the start armed with the same 3 auto cannons as the B 18A but it was quickly downgraded to 2 due to the lower defensive one being borderline useless due its limited traverse and the limited view for the gunner.

In 1946 the Swedish rocket-development program started and the B 18B was one of the planes used to test rockets of different types.

In 1949-1950 all planes were redesignated as attack aircraft and got the ability to equip 12 light rockets or 8 light rockets and 2 heavy rockets.

During the same period they also got ejection seats for the pilot and radio operator. Due to this the bombardier had to be removed and the radio operator lost his defensive gun.

The defensive gun had become obsolete either way due to the jet era.

Many of the planes that received ejection seats were also modified with a new rounded windshield.

Very late into its service life it was used effectively as a reconnaissance plane where it mainly dropped flare bombs and got the same PS-18/A radar as the S 18A. 119 built.

T 18B

Attack version, powered by the same engines as the B 18B.

It was armed with the same fixed and upper defensive auto cannon as the B 18B, but had 2 x 20 mm akan m/41 guns fixed in the nose.

It had a bigger bomb bay originally designed for a torpedo, but the aircraft could equip a 1000 kg m/47 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb or a 57 mm akan m/47 auto cannon with 41 rounds instead, besides the original bomb load outs of the B 18B.

Early into its service it was also tested with the RB 302 anti-shipping missile which never entered service.

In 1949 it received the same rocket and ejection seat upgrades as the B 18B, but could only carry 8 light rockets.

In 1949 it was also tested with twin Bofors 40 mm L70’s in place of its iconic 57 mm but the recoil shattered the nose glass, ending the tests. 52 built.

B 18A Dubbelkommando

Trainer version where the radio operator seat was turned around for an instructor.

The armoured shield between the seats blocked the instructor’s view, but the conversion was considered worth it in the end as no new trainers had to be purchased and the plane could easily be reconverted for combat duty.

B 18B Dubbelkommando

Same idea as mentioned above but implemented on the B 18B.

Specifications

B-18B

Crew

3

Length

13.23 m (43 ft 5 in)

Wingspan

17.4 m (57 ft 1 in)

Height

4.35 m (14 ft 3 in)

Wing area

43.75 m2 (470.9 sq ft)

Empty weight

6,093 kg (13,433 lb)

Max take-off weight

8,793 kg (19,385 lb)

Fuel capacity

1,700 litres (370 imp gal; 450 US gal)

Powerplant

2 × SFA DB-605B inverted-vee piston engines, 1,100 kW (1,475 hp) each (1700 with modifications)

Propellers

3-bladed VDM-33 (German propeller licenced built in Sweden)

Performance

Maximum speed

575–590 km/h (357–367 mph, 310–319 kn) depending on altitude

Cruise speed

550 km/h (340 mph, 300 kn)

Stall speed

80 km/h (50 mph, 43 kn)

Range

2,600 km (1,600 mi, 1,400 nmi)

Service ceiling

9,800 m (32,200 ft)

Armament

Guns

1x 13.2 mm fixed akan m/39A forwards firing gun in wing root with 300 rpg

1x 13.2 mm movable akan m/39 defensive gun with 300 rpg

B 18B’s delivered early had a second movable 13.2 mm akan m/39 defensive gun with 300 rpg for the scout (a leftover from the B 18A).

This was quickly removed in the field due to the impracticality of it post-war and later production examples where delivered without it.

Loadouts

Formally

1,400 kilograms (3,100 lb) of bombs or 1,500 kilograms (3,300 lb) of bombs and rockets

Its biggest loadout was 2x 600 kg bombs and 12x rockets simultaneously.

Rockets

Outer wings: 299 kg max

8x 8 cm pansarraket m/46 AP-rocket (RP-3 rocket with Shot, 25 lb., “AP” Mk II head)

8x 15 cm sprängraket m/46 HE-rocket (RP-3 rocket with Shell, H.E. 60 lb., “SAP” No. 2 Mk I head)

8x 14,5 cm pansarsprängraket m/49A & B HEAT-rocket (Bofors 10.3 cm rocket with 14,5 cm HEAT head)

8x 15 cm sprängraket m/51A & B HE-rocket (Bofors 10.3 cm rocket with 15 cm HE head)

Belly

240 kg

4x 8 cm pansarraket m/46 AP-rocket (RP-3 rocket with Shot, 25 lb., “AP” Mk II head)

4x 15 cm sprängraket m/46 HE-rocket (RP-3 rocket with Shell, H.E. 60 lb., “SAP” No. 2 Mk Ihead)

4x 14,5 cm pansarsprängraket m/49A & B HEAT-rocket (Bofors 10.3 cm rocket with 14,5 cm HEAT head)

4x 15 cm sprängraket m/51A & B HE-rocket (Bofors 10.3 cm rocket with 15 cm HE head)

2x 18 cm halvpansarraket m/49A & B APHE-rocket (Bofors 18 cm rocket with 18 cm APHE head. At the start used primarily against ships but in the end against basically everything else.)

Bombs

Bomb bay: 1228 kg max

10x 50 kg minbomb m/37 medium-capacity/general-purpose bombs

10x 50 kg sprängbomb m/42 fragmentation bombs

10x 50 kg Lysbomb m/32 flare bombs

10x 50 kg Bombkapsel m/43 cluster bombs (holds 2x 12 kg sprängbomb m/39G fragmentation bombs & 1x 12 kg sprängbomb m/37 fragmentation bomb or 3x 6 kg brandbomb m/39 incendiary bombs)

10x 50 kg Övningsbomb m/40 practise bombs

10x 8 kg övningsbomb m/40 practise bombs (addon mountings needed)

3x 250 kg minbomb m/37 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb (central fuze with bent fins)

3x 250 kg minbomb m/40 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb (central fuze with straight fins)

3x 250 kg minbomb m/50 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb (nose & central fuze with straight fins)

2x 500 kg minbomb m/41 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb (2 central fuzes with straight fins)

2x 600 kg minbomb m/50 medium-capacity/general-purpose bomb (nose fuze & 2 central fuzes with straight fins)

Inner wings

472 kg max

8x 50 kg minbomb m/37 medium-capacity/general-purpose bombs

8x 50 kg sprängbomb m/42 fragmentation bombs

8x 50 kg Brandbomb m/42 incendiary bombs

8x 50 kg Lysbomb m/32 flare bombs

8x 50 kg Bombkapsel m/43 cluster bombs (holds 2x 12 kg sprängbomb m/39G fragmentation bombs

&

1x 12 kg sprängbomb m/37 fragmentation bomb or 3x 6 kg brandbomb m/39 incendiary bombs)

8x 50 kg Övningsbomb m/40 practise bombs

8x 8 kg övningsbomb m/40 practise bombs

(addon mountings needed).

 

 

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