STOCKHOLM (Agencies): The iconic Saab SK 60, a high-wing, twinjet trainer aircraft, is set to retire from active service with the Swedish Air Force (SwAF), marking the end of an era. With a rich history spanning several decades, the SK 60 leaves behind a legacy of training generations of Swedish pilots and contributing significantly to the nation’s aviation heritage.

  • A Brief History:

Private Venture Origins: Developed by Saab AB in the early 1960s as a private venture, the Saab 105 (designated as the SK 60 by the SwAF) quickly became a cornerstone of pilot training programs.
Replacing the Vampire Fleet: The SK 60 entered service in 1967, replacing the aging De Havilland Vampire fleet. Its reliability and effectiveness in basic flight training earned it praise from aviators and instructors alike.

  • Versatility in Roles:

Training and Beyond: While primarily a training aircraft, the SK 60 also played a crucial role in light attack operations. It participated in joint exercises with the army, helped prevent border crossings, and even engaged in combat helicopter scenarios.

  • Key Variants:

SK 60B and SK 60C: These two-seat variants served as attack aircraft. The SK 60C, equipped with a panoramic reconnaissance camera, also fulfilled reconnaissance roles.

  • Armament: Armed with automatic 30mm ADEN cannons, attack rockets, and other munitions, the SK 60 proved its versatility.
  • SK 60D: A transport variant, the SK 60D replaced ejection seats with airline-type seating or austere seats with parachutes.
  • SK 60E: A four-seat variant with civil avionics, including an instrument landing system.
  • Upgrades and Export:

1993 Upgrade: The SK 60 underwent a significant upgrade, receiving twin Williams FJ44 engines with 8.45kN thrust and digital engine controls. These engines were known for their power, quiet operation, and ease of maintenance.

  • Modified Fleet: Approximately 115 SK 60 aircraft, including SK 60A, SK 60B, and SK 60C, were modified with these engines, informally referred to as the SK 60 (W).
  • International Reach: Beyond Sweden, the SK 60 found a home in Austria, where 40 units were exported and designated as Saab 105Ö.
  • Display Teams:
  • Team 60: The SK 60 was the aircraft of choice for the Swedish Air Force display team, Team 60, thrilling audiences with precision aerobatics.
  • Austrian Legacy: In Austria, the SK 60 was formerly used by two Air Force display teams, “Karo As” and “Silver Birds.”

As the SK 60 takes its final flight, it leaves an indelible mark on Swedish aviation history, symbolizing excellence in training and service.

By Media

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