In the aftermath of the Second World War, it was decided that the Swedish Air Force would be an all jet fleet. Engineers from Saab had gotten their hands on some German research material regarding swept wings and it was soon decided that the new jet fighter for the Swedish Air Force would be a swept wing jet.
The bulky Ghost engine gave the airplane its round shape, which earned it the nickname "Flygande Tunnan" ("The Flying Barrel" in English). It first flew in 1948, piloted by Bob Moore, a former RAF pilot, who after the first flight said "On the ground an ugly duckling but in the air a swift!" The Saab J 29 Tunnan was the first European fighter which could match the F-86 Sabre and Mig-15 for performance. The Tunnan stayed in service until the early 1970's. The last years it served as a target tug. It was also exported to Austria. A total of 661 Tunnans were produced between 1950 - 1956.
The J 29A and J 29B only differed in internal fuel volume, had a non-afterburning engine and a wing that lacked the saw tooth of the later versions. The J29B also served as part of the Swedish Air Force unit that was sent to Congo in the 1960's.
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