Close this search box.

Saab 29 Tunnan

The Saab 29 Tunnan is a Swedish fighter that was designed and manufactured by Saab in the 1940s.

It was the second turbojet-powered combat aircraft to be developed in Sweden, the first being the Saab 21R, and it was the first Western European fighter to be produced with a swept wing post World War II, only being preceded in Western Europe as a whole by the Me 262 built during the war.

Despite its rotund appearance, from which its name is derived, the J 29 was fast and agile and served effectively in both fighter and fighter-bomber roles into the 1970s.

The Saab 29 Tunnan was the first Swedish aircraft to be specifically designed to use jet propulsion.

Sweden’s first jet fighter, the Saab 21R, had been modified from the piston-engined Saab 21.

It is a small, chubby aircraft with a single round air intake in the nose, with the pilot under a bubble canopy directly above the air intake duct on the upper-forward section of the fuselage.

It has a very thin mid-mounted moderately swept two-spar wing which is a single structure attached to the fuselage by four bolts. 

The undercarriage is hydraulically operated and was designed to be suitable for use from rough airstrips.

To improve pilot survivability, the Tunnan used an ejection seat Saab developed in 1943, with an explosive jettisoning system for the canopy.

The Tunnan is powered with a single 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) de Havilland Ghost turbojet which have a top speed in excess of 650 mph (1,050 km/h), better performance than Sweden’s de Havilland Vampires.

The engine was bolted to the fuselage at three points and a special trolley was used to remove the engine for maintenance.

The final version had an afterburner, the first successful one used with a British jet engine.

Improvements were made to the wing to incorporate a dogtooth leading edge, raising the critical Mach number.

From 1963 onwards, all frontline J 29Fs were equipped with AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared-seeking air-to-air missiles.


J 29

Four prototypes built in 1949–50.

J 29A

Fighter, 224 built from 1951 to 1954, later series had wing-mounted dive brakes moved to the fuselage, ahead of the main landing gear doors.

J 29B

Fighter, 332 built 1953–55; featured 50% larger fuel capacity and underwing hardpoints to carry bombs, rockets and drop-tanks.

A 29B

Same aircraft as the J 29B, when serving with attack units.

S 29C

Reconnaissance, 76 built from 1954 through 1956, five cameras mounted in a modified nose.

Later modified with the improved wing design introduced on the J 29E.

J 29D

Single prototype to test Ghost RM 2A turbojet with 27.5 kN (2,800 kgp/6,175 lbf) afterburning thrust; ultimately converted to J 29 F standard.

Also tested with four m/55 AKANs.

J 29E

Fighter, 29 built in 1955; introduced an improved wing design with a leading-edge dogtooth to increase the critical Mach number.

J 29F

Fighter, 308 aircraft converted from available stocks of B and E model airframes from 1954 to 1956; featured the afterburning Ghost and dog-tooth wing; all remaining aircraft were further modified in 1963 to carry a pair of US-designed AIM-9B Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles, built by SAAB under license as the Rb 24.





10.23 m (33 ft 7 in)


11 m (36 ft 1 in)


3.75 m (12 ft 4 in)

Wing area

24.15 m2 (259.9 sq ft)

Empty weight

4,845 kg (10,681 lb)

Max take-off weight

8,375 kg (18,464 lb)


1 × Svenska Flygmotor RM2B centrifugal-flow turbojet engine with afterburning,

27.0 kN (6,070 lbf) thrust


Maximum speed

1,060 km/h (660 mph, 570 kn)


1,100 km (680 mi, 590 nmi)

Service ceiling

15,500 m (50,900 ft)

Rate of climb

32.1 m/s (6,320 ft/min)



4 x 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano Mark V autocannon


75 mm (3 in) air-to-air rockets

145 mm (5.7 in) Armour-Piercing rockets

150 mm (6 in) High-Explosive rockets

180 mm (7.1 in) High-Explosive anti-ship rockets


Rb 24 (AIM-9 Sidewinder) air-to-air missiles.


Share on facebook