The Saab B18B ASJA "1942"

The Saab B18 Dive-bomber

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The Saab B18 ASJA

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The Saab B18 ASJA

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.


Manned by a crew of three — a pilot and navigator under a glazed, offset canopy, and a bombardier in the nose[3] — the Saab 18 prototype was a mid-wing monoplane with twin vertical stabilisers,[3] and was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial engines.[3] Armament consisted of three 13.2-millimetre (0.52 in) machine guns, one fixed firing forwards and controlled by the pilot, the others being in flexible defensive mounts for use by the navigator and bombardier.[2] Up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of bombs could be carried in an internal bay, while up to eight 50-kilogram (110 lb) bombs could be carried on underwing hardpoints



Role Bomber, reconnaissance
National origin Sweden
Manufacturer SAAB
Carl Haddon / Frid Wänström
First flight
19 June 1942 (B 18A)
1944 (B 18A)
Retired 1959
Status Retired
Primary user Swedish Air Force
Produced 1944–1948
Number built 245



Saab 18
One SFA STWC-3 engined B 18A prototype. The same prototype was later re-engined 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 
S 18A
Photo-reconnaissance conversion

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Saab B18B ASJA "Dive-bomber"

Only a single example of the Saab 18 survives today: a B 18B, coded Red David. It is part of the collection of the Flygvapenmuseum, the Swedish Air Force Museum near Linköping in Sweden. One of a group of eight aircraft lost in a snowstorm in 1946, it was recovered and restored in 1979.[9]

Another plane is believed to have survived. One aircraft from the same group that got lost in the snowstorm mentioned above was never found. A new theory of where it crashed has surfaced due to new aerial photos being released by Swedish weather and climate researchers. The plane was coded Red Niklas and according to theory it should be well preserved if it lies on the believed crash site. The Swedish air force has shown interest in the matter due to the plane’s three crew members never being found nor buried

B-18B ASJA "1942": Specifications

  • Crew: 3: pilot/navigator, radio operator/gunner, scout (at an early stage bombardier)
  • 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 takeoff 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 but made in Sweden)
  • 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)
  • 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.

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Only a single example of the Saab 18 survives today: a B 18B, coded Red David. It is part of the collection of the Flygvapenmuseum, the Swedish Air Force Museum near Linköping in Sweden. One of a group of eight aircraft lost in a snowstorm in 1946, it was recovered and restored in 1979.

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