Monthly Archives: August 2016

Saab AJ and AJS 37 Viggen flight manuals (SFI)

This post is obviously completely unrelated to tanks and might actually be better under the Reference documents tab, but occasionally weird Swedish cold war byproducts come out of my archival research.

In the Swedish Air Force, a the flight manuals were historically called things like Fpl AJS 37: speciell förarinstruktion (“Aircraft AJS 37: special pilot’s instructions”, where “special” is used in the sense that these instructions are particular to this aircraft type), where speciell förarinstruktion was abbreviated SFI. There was usually one unclassified part and 2-3 classified ones. In the last year, the national military archives have kindly declassified most of these manuals for the strike version of the Saab 37 Viggen, the AJ 37 and its 90’s updated version, AJS 37. I’ve turned these into PDF files for your convenience. They are all in Swedish, of course – since the Viggen was never exported, they were never translated.

Fpl AJS 37 speciell förarinstruktion (SFI) del 1 (M7780-402291) (59 MB, PDF format)
Published by FMV:FLYG in November 1994. Open, unclassified. Contains a general technical description of the aircraft and most of its onboard systems without going into too many details on sensitive points.

Fpl AJ 37 speciell förarinstruktion (SFI) del 2 (M7780-400172) (58 MB, PDF format)
Published by FMV:FLYG in February 1975. Formerly classified secret, declassified on January 20th, 2016. Contains technical descriptions of sensitive onboard systems such as weapons, radar, countermeasures etc, as well as a description of some typical mission profiles. According to the index it should also contain five more chapters, but these were missing in the binder in the national archives. However, those same chapters are in the Fpl AJS 37 SFI above – albeit for a slightly updated version of the same aircraft.

Fpl AJ 37 speciell förarinstruktion (SFI) komplement del 3 (M7780-400173) (10 MB, PDF format)
Published by FMV:FLYG in July 1979. Formerly classified secret, declassified on January 21st, 2016. Contains aerodynamic performance charts of various kinds – acceleration, rate of climb, combat range, etc etc. The chapter on turn performance is missing.

Stridsvagn 103 Was Not A Tank Destroyer

In internet arguments and popular culture, it is frequently claimed that the stridsvagn 103 (strv 103, “S-tank”) was a defensive tank, or basically a modern tank destroyer. It was, claims the common wisdom (perpetrated and repeated in media such as History Channel), meant to dig down in a forest, take a few shots at attacking Soviet tanks and then retreat, using its rear driver to its advantage. In the recently revealed Swedish tree for World of Tanks, it is indeed classified as a tank destroyer – mainly for game mechanics reasons, though, not because of a misunderstanding of its role. Even in the Swedish army, some officers (mainly ones who had no experience on the tank) thought it was worthless for traditional tank work – that is, offensive tasks. In this essay, I will show that this is simply not true: the Swedish army set out to figure out how to build a good tank, came up with the S-tank idea, developed and built that idea as a tank, which it then proceeded to use operationally as a tank.