The SR's own jet interceptor. Like the typical Swedish designs of *here*, it is a canard (tail-first) design allowing greater maneuverability than conventional designs. The SAAS Dragen is *here* the Kyushu J7W2 Shinden-kai, a jet-powered version of the Japanese-built Kyushu J7W1 Shinden of WWII. Both were designed to be highly maneuverable short-range intercepters.
The first version, the SAAS Dragen v1, was first produced in 1992. It was a propeller plane with a supercharged 2130 hp SAAS v27 18 cylinder radial pushing a six bladed propeller with a top speed: 800 km/hr (500 mi/hr). Potential problems of emergency escape, where the pilot risked being shredded by the propeller behind him, led to an ejection seat system in the v1. Problems with torque led to a jet powered version, the v2, in 2000. This was to be the jet-powered version of the v1 that was to be powered by a 2200 lb thrust SAAS J-130 axial-flow turbojet. This provided a much improved performance over the propeller-type by reducing torque (a serious problem of the v1 and most propeller planes) and improved safety for emergency escape. Armament was the same as the v1.
Below are the specs of the SAAS Dragen v2:
- Engine: 1x 2200 lb thrust SAAS J-130 axial-flow turbo-jet
- Wing-span: 36'5''6'''
- Length: 31'8''4'''
- Height: 12'10''6'''
- Weight: Empty 7639 lb / Loaded 10854 lb
- Maximum Speed: 530 mph (level), 600 mph (dive)
- Ceiling: 39370'
- Range: 530 miles
- Crew: 1
- Armament: 4x 30 mm BOFORS cannons, 4x underwing hardpoints
Basically, it is a smaller, lighter, more maneuverable plane than the Dalmatian Spretu. So it is ideal for carriers. On land-based operations, its primary missions are interception - hence high speed but the short range.
Currently, SAAS is tinkering with a better engine with improved thrust and better fuel economy, and should increase the speed and range of the Dragen.