One of the 'stars' of the show for us was this North American TP.86 Sabreliner
The SwAF originally operated two such aircraft
'Aerospace Forum Sweden' took place between 31st May and 3rd June 2012 at Malmen Air Base near Linköping. Sponsored by Saab and the Swedish Armed Forces, this was to be Sweden's primary airshow for the 2012 display season. Celebrating 100 years of flying in Sweden, Linköping is regarded as the aviation capital of the country and the place where its first flying school was founded. It is also the only place in Sweden where aircraft are manufactured, with over 18,000 people (a third of the city´s workforce) working within the aviation sector in one form or another.
Following on from the outstanding success of the 2010 premiere, 2012 saw the doubling in numbers of exhibitors and participating companies. Culminating in a public air show on the Sunday under the banner of 'Forsvarsmaktens Flydag 2012'. Jetwash Aviation Photos went along to see what Sweden currently has to offer the aviation world in terms of military might, and with an expected crowd of around 100,000 at the public air show, as well as increased coverage by international media the expectation was high. With the added opportunity to see the latest frontline aviation assets of the Swedish Armed Forces, it was a show not to be missed. Unfortunately the weather over the weekend proved not to be ideal, with temperatures as low as 4C, a strong breeze adding some windchill factor and several showers also thrown in for good measure. All of this made photographic conditions less than ideal but nevertheless we managed to obtain imagery of most of the participants that we really wanted to see.
Sweden operates the oldest C-130 Hercules fleet in Europe, their eight aircraft being delivered back in 1969
All of the fleet are still in service, with #84002 (above) having been converted to a KC-130 tanker version back in 2005
We are not quite sure exactly what the markings on the aircraft represent, but clearly some form of 'tanker missions' we presume
The Royal Thai Air Force currently has six Gripens in service, the aircraft above being the first of a follow on order for a further six
The Saab J.29F Tunnan is known as 'The Flying Barrel' and it is clear to see how it earned its knickname
#100004 is a Saab S.100D 'Argus' Airborne Early Warning & Control Aircraft (AEW&C) which carries the ASC-890 Erieye system that can clearly be seen mounted atop the fuselage
The SwAF operates two S.100D and also three S.100B with the FSR-890 radar
The SwAF HF Viggen recovers in torrential rain after displaying on the Sunday of the airshow
Located in Malmslätt-Linköping, Malmen Air Base opened in 1912 and played a major role within the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) for many years. It is currently home to the 'Team 60' aerobatic display team and their Saab Sk60 trainers, the SwAF Flying School (Luftstridskolan), also with Sk60s, TSFE (Transport-och Specialflygenheten) flying the Saab S100B AEW and S102B 'Korpen' ELINT version of the Grumman Gulfstream, together with 2 Hkp of the Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottilj flying NH90, AW109 and UH-60 helicopters. Also taking up some space at Malmen is the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) who operate a variety of aircraft from the air base.
Originally a civilian aircraft, Sabreliner #86001 was bought in 1981 and used as a flying platform for testing of various equipment. One early mission was to test the GPS navigation system. Other tests included target detecting systems for missiles and meteorological investigations. The TP.86 was also used during the test of the CARABAS radar system, which is able to detect targets under the ground level - a kind of X-ray technique. Making use of a pair of forward-facing, ultra-light, omni-directional, 8.2 m long probe-antennas, the system makes use of post-collection processing (time domain) and maintained track accuracy via the use of a ground and air phase-differential application of the Global Positioning System. Flight trials with CARABAS II are reported to have begun during November 1996.
Purchased in 1992 to replace the ageing Sud Aviation TP.85 Caravelles, the Gulfstream is a less spacious aircraft but as it is able of flying at altitudes of 15,000 metres, the range of the SwAF ELINT operations has increased considerably. The S.102B was given the name 'Korpen' (Raven) and the two individual aircraft also received the names 'Hugin' and 'Munin' after the Scandiavian God Odin’s two ravens, who saw everything that happened in the world. The aircraft are operated by the TSFE at Malmen.
The S.102B Korpen ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) aircraft is based on Grumman's Gulfstream IV business jet
A further example of Sweden's home grown aircraft production is the Saab 340. The SwAF operate three versions of the type, the one above being the OS.100
The aircraft was manufactured as a TP.100A VIP-transport version and subsequently converted in 2003 for use as a 'Open Skies' aircraft
The Swedish Helicopter Wing also utilises the Aerospatiale HKP.10 Super Puma
From an initial order of twelve there are nine remaining in service
The aircraft are slated for withdrawal and most likely this will happen once the full complement of UH-60s are in service
The mighty Saab AJS.37 Viggen from the Swedish AF Historic Flight after having landed following its flying display
Linköping is the home of Saab's aviation division and also where the Gripen fighter is produced
Fittingly there were Gripens from Hungary, Sweden, South Africa, Thailand and also the ETPS/Saab demo model, along with the Gripen NG
As mentioned earlier, the SwAF Flying School is based at Malmen with its fleet of Saab SK.60 trainers, one of which is seen above
Although the aircraft wears the markings of F.7 Wing, little can be read into this
Most wings operate a number of SK.60s as 'hacks', but they do not generally re-paint aircraft as they move around
Indeed some still sport F.10 markings, a wing that disbanded many years hence
#161229/04 is an example of the latest SwAF helicopter asset in the shape of the Sikorsky UH-60M Blackhawk
Known as the HKP.16A in Sweden, four have so far entered service with 2 Hkp and were purchased specifically for use in Afghanistan
A trio of SK.60 trainers about to depart Malmen. Note the lead aircraft sports the markings of 'Team 60'
The Finnish Army provided a NH.90 TTH helicopter, which also gave an aerial display of its capabilities
The TTH is the troop transport variant of the helicopter
Agusta HKP.15A of the Swedish Armed Forces illustrating how well the 'Splinter Camo' works against a wooded backdrop
Upon our arrival on the Sunday we were greeted with two Finnish Air Force Pilatus PC-12NG aircraft about to depart
The aircraft wears the marks of 21 Sqn at Tampere-Pirkkala
Draken #35556 wears the markings of F.10 Wing and is seen here about to land
The first foreign customer for the JAS.39 Gripen was South Africa, who ordered 28 aircraft, for 2 Squadron at Makhado
Aircraft #3924 (above) recently took part in Exercise 'Lion Effort' at Ronneby Air Base
The AJS.37 Viggen is the most recent addition to the SwAF HF,
having made its 'maiden flight' after overhaul in March 2012 following 12 years in storage
She has been restored to her original silver finish as against the splinter camouflage applied later
Saab J.32B Lansen having just landed at Malmen after the SwAF HF had finished its early morning display
The SwAF Historic Flight Hunter is painted to represent a Swedish aircaft and also took part in the display
It is actually an ex-Swiss Air Force Hunter F.58 now on the Swedish civil register
The helicopter wing is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its fleet
Types such as the Bolkow 105, Bell 206 Jet Ranger, Bell 412 and KV.107,
being replaced with the more capable A.109, UH-60 and the NH.90 TTH seen above
The Saab J.29F Tunnan about to recover at Malmen after one of its displays
With its gear up the NH.90 helicopter displays a much cleaner set of lines in comparison to the photograph above
This image of #86001 clearly shows the forward facing antennas of the CARABAS system
Malmen is the home base to a large part of the Försvarsmaktens Helikopterflottilj, or 'Helicopter Wing'
Seen above is an Agusta A.109 LUHS (known as the HKP.15A in Swedish service) in typical Swedish 'Splinter Camouflage'
The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight (SwAFHF) has been active since 1998 and is funded through sponsorship, membership fees and air shows. In place to preserve aircraft previously operated by the Swedish Air Force, the latest addition to its ranks is the Saab AJS.37 Viggen, which took to the air on 27th March 2012. Having been grounded for 12 years following its withdrawal from Swedish Air Force service it joins the ranks of many other historic Swedish jet aircraft such as the J.29F Tunnan, Hawker Hunter and SK.60 trainer. Plans are now afoot for a Saab SK.35 Draken and a Saab SK.37 Viggen to join the 'flyable' ranks of the SwAFHF in 2013. The SwAFHF sets an example that unfortunately not many countries adhere to in terms of restoring and maintaing the aircraft that have been a part of their history and backbone of their military, something they are rightfully proud of.
Saab SK.60E trainer from the SwAF Historic Flight about to land at Malmen having taken part in a flypast of Saab types
The aircraft had seen its latter years in SwAF service as a ground instructional trainer at Såtenäs
Also in service with 2 HkpSkv at Malmen is the A.109 MUHS variant of Agusta's helicopter
Known as the HKP.15B this is a navalised variant used in support of the Swedish Naval Forces
There was very little in the way of overseas participation at the airshow
The Swiss 'PC-7 Team' did bring ten aircraft, one of which can be seen above whilst the rest are taxying out for display in the background
A slow shutter speed on the camera gives an impression of the landing speed as a Swedish Armed Forces JAS.39C lands at Malmen
Saab JAS.39C Gripen from the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV)
This unit is based at Malmen and utilises a variety of aircraft for test purposes