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.
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.
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.
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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