In the Cold War era, Swedish JA-37 Jas Viggen fighter pilots were scrambled on 400-500 live Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) missions per year to intercept any unidentified aircraft approaching Swedish airspace. QRA targets came from both Warsaw and NATO nations
- On January 1986, while leading a JA-37 three-ship in aircraft tail number “38” carried out successful intercepts on SR-71 Blackbird between 13:14 hours and 13:25 hours, about 50km west of the town of Visby, on the island of Gotland. Major Moller was number two, in tail number “60”, and Captain Ulf Johansson number three in tail number “53”. Here are Details on Incident: When a Saab 37 Viggen pilots were able to achieve RADAR LOCK on SR-71 Blackbird
- On June 29, 1987, Four Swedish Viggen pilots protected A Crippled SR-71 Blackbird that had in-flight engine failure. The Swedish pilots received U.S. Air Medals during a ceremony held in Stockholm, Sweden, on Nov. 28, 2018, recognizing their actions that took place almost 32 years ago. See Details: Link
Here is an interesting video featuring retired fighter-pilot Thorbjörn Engback explaining how he and other Swedish fighter pilots were able to successfully acquire radar lock on U.S. Air Force (USAF) SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes, in their SAAB JA-37 Viggens, by means of the British Aerospace (Bae) Skyflash air-to-air missile.
Be sure to select English subtitles in the settings of the video to enjoy Engback’s story.
At the height of the Cold War, when East-West tensions were at their greatest, Swedish JA-37 Jaktviggen (or fighter Viggen) fighter pilots were scrambled on 400-500 live Quick Reaction Alert (QRA)missions per year to intercept any unidentified aircraft approaching Swedish airspace.
The SR-71’s awesome performance capabilities provided a unique opportunity for Swedish fighter controllers and JA-37 fighter pilots to evaluate various intercept solutions against a high-speed, high-altitude threat.
The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force
The Saab 37 Viggen is a single-seat, single-engine, short-medium range Mach 2+ combat aircraft that was operated by the Swedish Air Force