Douglas A36 Skyhawk (RSwAF)

Started by Pellson, April 30, 2021, 07:11:03 PM

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On request by the noble Mr Rheged  ;)

In the early 50s, it was very evident that the Swedish territory was strategically vital for both sides in the event of an open war. NATO control over Sweden would lock in the WP in the Baltic and reinforce the defence of the GIUK gap, whereas Soviet control would render Norway indefensible and hence give the Northern Fleet free way into the Atlantic.
Thus, the Baltic swiftly became a hotspot and an area where much intelligence could be gained - but at a cost. American and NATO reconnaissance assets were regularly not only harassed but on several occasions shot at over international waters, and as losses started to occur, the Cold War threatened to go hot.

Sweden, while being formally unaligned and neutral, was doing its best to arm itself in order to deter any side, but in reality, much cooperation and exchanges existed between in particular the Americans, the British and the Swedes. Among these, Swedish ELINT was actively shared westwards and in the light of the NATO asset losses, became more and more important to the western intelligence community.

When NATO was formed in 1955, Sweden elected to formally stay out, much not to force Finland into an even worse situation than it already was in. The tensions were very high though, and it was learnt from the Korean conflict that besides interdictors/bombers beating the enemy en route, and at home, you would very much need more nimble yet powerful CAS aircraft being able to beat the enemy should he gain foothold.

While having managed to develop and field a decent strike bomber, the A32 Lansen, and a world class fighter/interceptor, the J35 Draken, Swedish SAAB just didn't have capacity enough to also develop and produce this CAS/strike aircraft for the rapidly growing Royal Swedish Air Force (RSwAF). Some studies were performed to see if the old J29 Tunnan fighter could be adapted, but it was soon found that it's total lack of all weather capability wouldn't be easy to remedy, and should that obstacle be overcome, neither would it be able to carry modern guided weapons in addition to enough fuel. Hence, an alternative solution was sought - the Swedes had to look abroad.

At this time, the Douglas AD4-1 Skyhawk was just about to enter USN and USMC service. While not fully all weather capable, it was certainly the small, agile bomb truck desired, and more importantly, as the production for US needs was swiftly ramping up, possibly quickly available.
While the Eisenhower administration was generally cautious not to annoy the soviets more than necessary, Ike was personally very well aware of the strategic importance of the Scandinavian peninsula, and when covertly approached, made it perfectly clear to the Swedish Embassy that deliveries would be prioritised - provided that the Swedes kept the dangerous but oh so important ELINT over the Baltic Sea going. The Americans even made it clear that they rather would foot some of the bill than risk loss of Scandinavia.

Unsurprisingly, an agreement was quickly struck, and already in 1957, deliveries of 60 AD4-1s commenced. While some grumbling emerged from Moscow, the Finns were made to buy MiG-21s and nothing more came of it.

These Swedish Skyhawks were all but similar to their American sisters, but on arrival, SAAB installed an attack radar derived from the compact Draken intercept set giving full all weather capability. The aircraft were painted as per the Drakens and all assigned to the 7th Wing in western Sweden, replacing the existing three sqns of Lansens, which weren't retired but rather reassigned to the other Lansen wings, making them all 4 sqn wings. The Skyhawk was labelled A36 in Swedish service and they trained mainly for CAS and anti tank operations using the indigenous command controlled Rb05 missile as primary weapon.

The early Skyhawks weren't entirely satisfactory, but despite the often appalling weather conditions prevailing, attrition was lower than experienced with both Tunnans and Lansens. Also, the Skyhawks were found to make pretty good second line air to air fighters as they were rather manouverable , especially in comparison with the bigger and less powerful Lansen. Accordingly, they were eventually wired up for AIM-9 Sidewinders and kept in service all up to the early 70s when the AJ37 started to replace both them and the Lansens.

As many of you will know, from my blog here on site, this is not my build but my 8 yo sons. He has done basically all major work, just leaving minor clean-up and touch-up to me, as well as the decals. While choosing decals, he preferred having me put them on.

The kit is Airfix old and pretty awful early Skyhawk, but it has the benefit of having few enough parts not to bore a young kid and we had good fun (and more than that, as you who've read the blog will know) building it.

It is now an actively flown aircraft, shooting up its fair share of tanks every day in the hands of its young pilot, and watching him play with it, I can easily see myself in the same age, over 40 years ago, starting my own life long relationship with modelling.

Being a father is the most rewarding experience in my whole life, and, I dare say, the reason why I still exist. I am immensely proud over all my kids, but I have to admit that it is an extra joy watching him do such a good job with the kit. He is so much better than I was at his age..  :wub:
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Rick Lowe

Well Done, Son-of-Son-of-Pell!  :thumbsup:
And well done Dad, for your example to your offspring!

Also shows you can bring an old kit up to a good standard.

Old Wombat

Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est


That is EXACTLY the sort of backstory I was hoping for.   Family Pellson triumph again!!

There isn't a "proud parent" emoji available, but there are plenty of people here who would use it if it existed.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you....."
It  means that you read  the instruction sheet


Quote from: Rheged on May 01, 2021, 01:49:00 AM
That is EXACTLY the sort of backstory I was hoping for.   Family Pellson triumph again!!

There isn't a "proud parent" emoji available, but there are plenty of people here who would use it if it existed.

Well, you started something in my mind, and an annoying side effect of my current condition is uneven sleep, so I made good use of otherwise wasted time..  ;)

Yup, the kids are the meaning of my life, as I suspect it is for most parents. That won't keep me from bragging about mine whenever given a chance anyway..  ;D
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!


That's nice.  He's done a good job.


- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..


He's done a terrific job there  :thumbsup:

When I was a similar age modelling was a dangerous pastime. If the smelly/stringy glue didn't make me and my  dad conk out (overcome by fumes) we got attacked by mum for getting glue and paint everywhere  :angel:
Decals my @r$e!


The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!