Home Cold War Era Video features former Viggen driver explaining how JA-37 pilots were able to achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes

Video features former Viggen driver explaining how JA-37 pilots were able to achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes

by Dario Leone
Video features former Viggen driver explaining how JA-37 pilots were able to achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes

Swedish JA-37 fighter pilots were able to successfully acquire radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes by means of the Skyflash air-to-air missile.

The interesting video in this post features 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.

Video features former Viggen driver explaining how JA-37 pilots were able to achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes
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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.

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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.

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. 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.

Video features former Viggen driver explaining how JA-37 pilots were able to achieve radar lock on SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy planes
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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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