Home Cold War Era Short Movie shows Swedish JA-37 Viggen Fighter Jet Achieving Radar Lock On SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane

Short Movie shows Swedish JA-37 Viggen Fighter Jet Achieving Radar Lock On SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane

by Dario Leone
That time Four Swedish Viggen pilots protected an SR-71 that had an inflight engine failure

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.

Titled “MACH III SR71 Vs. Saab JA-37 Short Film,” the cool video in this post shows the authors of the movie, Dan and Andy, chronicle their journey making an action-packed aviation film (which actually starts at 7:55) about Swedish Air Force Saab JA-37 combat jets challenging the uncatchable American SR-71 Blackbird.

Short Movie shows Swedish JA-37 Viggen Fighter Jet Achieving Radar Lock On SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane

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.

Short Movie shows Swedish JA-37 Viggen Fighter Jet Achieving Radar Lock On SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane

QRA targets came from both Warsaw and NATO nations, and were usually flying close to Swedish airspace over the Baltic Sea or the Gulf of Bothnia.

Short Movie shows Swedish JA-37 Viggen Fighter Jet Achieving Radar Lock On SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks”

As we have already explained in a previous extensive piece (click here to read the article), no doubt the most challenging QRA targets were the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed SR-71As, that often passed very close to Swedish airspace on their regular ‘Baltic Express’ missions (click here to watch a video where retired fighter pilot Thorbjörn Engback explains how he and other Swedish JA-37 drivers were able to successfully acquire radar lock on USAF SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes, in their Viggens by means of the British Aerospace Skyflash air-to-air missile).

SR-71 Model
This model is available in multiple sizes from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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.

Furthermore Swedish Air Force Viggens could also assist the legendary Blackbird if the latter experienced an inflight emergency, as happened on Jun. 29, 1987 when four Swedish JA-37 pilots protected an SR-71 that had an inflight engine failure (click here to read the article). 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.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kelly O’Connor

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Welcome to The Aviation Geek Club, your new stopover aviation place. Launched in 2016 by Dario Leone, an Italian lifelong - aviation geek, this blog is the right place where you can share your passion and meet other aviation enthusiasts from all over the world.

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