On December 8, the office staff where I work at FOI made a field trip to The Swedish Air Force Museum in Linköping. Here the rich heritage of the Saab brand is portrayed in a very nice way. The whole museum is without no doubt one of the premier aerospace museum in the world. It is by no way the largest I have been to some of them, USAF Museum in Dayton, OH, Duxford Imperial Museum in Cambridge, Canadian AirForce Museum in Ottawa to name a few.
But none of these museums comes close to how the Linköping museum have intertwined swedish aircrafts and the history of that time period. One area displays the cold war of the 50 ies not only with planes but with housing interiors and political issues of that time period. It is almost like a combination of a ethnographical/interior architect and modern history museum with a lot of military aircraft hovering above safeguarding the traditional swedish way of living.
Every model of SAAB plane can be seen here rom the first propeller B-17 dive bomber to the 39 Gripen prototype plan no.2 and the Saab Shark UAV attack prototype. Of special interest is the B-18 ongoing restoration that is going on inside the museum on public display. On the floor under a soviet Mig 17, parked next to a Saab Safir propeller plane sits a 1950 Saab 92 in cellulose green paint. It is on loan from the Saab Car Museum in Trollhättan.
In the basement rests the remains of a newly salvaged DC-3 Signal detection spy plane that was shot down by a soviet interceptor. The four workstations utilized highly classified US instruments and machinery, hence the reason for the russians to shoot down the plane. Sweden with its close proximity to Soviet served the US and its allies with vital information gathered from signal espionage and eavesdropping.
If You plan to visit sweden or drive by Linköping it is a definite much to take 3-4 hours here. As a Saab enthusiast it is the 8th death sin not to go here.
If you ever visit Sweden and have the slightest interest in airplanes and the history of what has happened in Sweden in regards to international big time politics from 2nd world war and on. Then I have a recommendation for you. Just some 180km south of Stockholm in Linköping the Swedish Air Force Museum is situated. Unlike many old and dusty museums around the world with just planes lined up in long rows this museum take the experience to a new level.
Technological advancements but the best of all how the intertwine of the world political agenda with the Swedish realities and how Sweden worked with the situations evolving around our borders. Here one can follow the decisions on how to set up an air force that was the 3rd largest in the world with many world-class military jets. The museum tells the story on how a small country arranged its defense in a very special and unique way.
– Saab B-17
– Saab B-18
. Saab J21
– Saab J21R
– Saab “Lilldraken”
– Saab JAS 39 Prototype -2
– Saab J29 Tunnan, AJ32 Lansen, J35 Draken, JA37 Viggen